Qualified Team Focus - Brazil: Searching for first podium in 45 years
MIES (Switzerland) - The draw for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, presented by Wanda, will be held in Manila, Philippines, on April 29. It is now time to meet the 32 teams that try to become World Champions in a few months.
Here is the number 13 team in the FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by Nike, two-time world champions and four-time FIBA AmeriCup winners Brazil.
🇧🇷 𝗕 𝗥 𝗔 𝗭 𝗜 𝗟 🇧🇷— FIBA Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) February 27, 2023
See you at the FIBA World Cup! 🙌#FIBAWC | #WinForBrasil pic.twitter.com/IxOS03PU55
How did they qualify
Brazil came into the Americas Qualifiers after having lost to Germany in the Final of the FIBA Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Split to miss out on the Tokyo Olympics. Afterwards the Brazilian federation handed the reins to Gustavo De Conti, who had served as an assistant coach between 2012 and 2016.
He was the first Brazilian coach at the helm of the senior national team in 13 years since Lula Ferreira left in 2008. Conti guided Brazil to the World Cup by winning on the final game day in a qualification campaign with a fair share of highs and lows.
The coach had a solid core of players, led by Georginho De Paula, who played in all 12 games, while Lucas Mariano appeared in 11 games and Bruno Caboclo and Yago dos Santos both played 10 times.
The Brazilians started in fine fashion in a bubble in Argentina by beating Chile twice - 77-53 and 81-55. Mariano scored 18 and 17 points respectively while Caboclo had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the first game.
The winning streak stretched to four games in the February 2022 window, easing past Uruguay 85-66 and Colombia 119-73 - both games at home. Vitor Benite poured in 21 points against Colombia and Caboclo had 20 points.
The June/July 2022 window started with a fifth straight win - 73-60 in Uruguay.
But then things turned sour for the Brazilians. They came back from 14 points but ended up losing 104-98 at Colombia in double overtime despite Marcelinho Huertas scoring 27 points and Lucas Dias and Caboclo both picking up double-doubles.
In August 2022, Brazil lost a 10-point lead and were beaten 75-72 on the road against Puerto Rico. Conti's men dropped a third straight game, never leading in an 82-72 loss at home to Mexico in front of 8,100 fans.
Brazil bounced back and played well at the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 and reached the Final, only to lose 75-73 to Argentina - missing out on their first continental crown since 2009.
The showing shifted the momentum and Caboclo scored 24 points in Brazil's 94-79 road victory over USA to snap the losing streak. Caboclo followed with 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 102-56 rout in Mexico.
The final window in February 2023 saw a thriller to start off with 17 lead changes but Brazil lost at home 92-90 to Puerto Rico on a buzzer beater. Leonardo Meindl's 18 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals were not enough.
That left Brazil needing to win their second game against USA to reach the World Cup. And that is exactly what happened as Caboclo scored 21 points and Santos collected 17 points and 8 assists in an 83-76 home win.
Best result at the World Cup
Brazil have never missed a World Cup - United States being the only other nation to play at all 18 editions thus far. The South Americans won two world titles - going back to back in 1959 and 1963. And Brazil have six podium finishes - the last one being third place in 1978.
Brazil in 1963
Last World Cup appearances
Since reaching the Semi-Finals in 1986, Brazil have only had three top eight showings - 1990, 2002 and 2014. Brazil lost to Argentina in the Round of 16 in 2010 but got revenge at the same stage in 2014, losing to Serbia in the Quarter-Finals and finishing sixth.
In 2019, Brazil took top honors in the First Round, beating New Zealand, Greece and Montenegro, but lost to Czech Republic and USA in the Second Round to miss the Knockout Phase and take 13th place.
Players to watch
Brazil will have a very deep roster including a mix of young and old and inside and outside threats. Bruno Caboclo dominated in the middle during the Americas Qualifiers while Yago dos Santos helped a strong backcourt that included Marcelinho Huertas, Vitor Benite, Georginho De Paula and Gui Deodato.
The wings include Gui Santos, Leonardo Meindl and Gabriel Galvanini. More inside players are Augusto Lima, Cristiano Felicio, Rafael Mineiro, Lucas Dias, Tim Soares, Lucas Mariano, Marcio Santos.
Qualified Team Focus series
Please check the teams we have already broken down. In the past weeks, before the last qualifications that happened in February 2023, we have ordered them by their position in the FIBA World Ranking Men, presented by Nike:
Spain, Australia, France, Slovenia, Lithuania, Greece, Italy, Germany, Canada , Finland, New Zealand, USA and Serbia.