25 August, 2023
10 September
Gold medalists (USA)
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The Best of 2014 World Cup: USA become third repeat champion; France finish third after upsetting Spain

MIES (Switzerland) - United States became the third nation to repeat the title as they went undefeated to claim the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 trophy. Serbia finished second while France reached their first World Cup podium in third place. 

USA joined Brazil (1959 and 1963) and Yugoslavia (1998 and 2002) as the third country to defend their crown, and the Americans were atop the world for a fifth time - and second instance in Spain.

Serbia showed it only matters that you win the right games in finishing with a 5-4 record, eclipsing Yugoslavia's 6-3 mark for the most losses for a second-placed team at a World Cup.

France pulled off a major upset by eliminating hosts Spain in the Quarter-Finals before making history with the third spot on the podium.

The best team: USA

Rank Team W-L
1. USA 9-0
2. Serbia 5-4
3. France 6-3
4. Lithuania 6-3
5. Spain 6-1
6. Brazil 5-2
7. Slovenia 5-2
8. Turkey 4-3
9. Greece 5-1
10. Croatia 3-3
11. Argentina 3-3
12. Australia 3-3
13. Dominican Republic 2-4
14. Mexico 2-4
15. New Zealand 2-4
16. Senegal 2-4
17. Angola 2-3
18. Ukraine 2-3
19. Puerto Rico 1-4
20. Iran 1-4
21. Philippines 1-4
22. Finland 1-4
23. Korea 0-5
24. Egypt 0-5

For the first time, the FIBA Basketball World Cup was hosted in back-to-back editions in Europe with Spain following Turkey for the 17th edition in 2014. It was the fifth time in total in Europe and second in Spain after 1986. None of the arenas from 1986 were reused in 2014 with Bilbao, Granada, Las Palmas and Seville hosting the group stage and Barcelona and Madrid being the sites of the knockout games.

The 2014 tournament saw some court changes as it was the first time the NBA-style 4.90 meter rectangular free throw lane, 1.25 meter restricted area and extended three-point line (6.6 meters/21 feet 8 inches in the corners 6.75 meters/22 feet 1.75 inches elsewhere) were used.

For the third straight tournament there were 24 participating nations: hosts Spain; Olympic champions United States; the top six teams from Europe - France, Lithuania, Croatia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Serbia; four teams from Americas - Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Dominican Republic; the top three countries from Asia - Iran, Philippines, Korea; three African teams - Angola, Egypt, Senegal; two teams from Oceania - Australia, New Zealand. Brazil, Finland, Greece and Turkey completed the line-up. Finland and Ukraine were making their World Cup debuts.

Group A was labelled the "group of death" with European champions France, hosts Spain as well as traditional power Serbia. Spain were the only team to escape unscathed at 5-0. France were surprised on the opening day of action by Brazil 65-63 and the South Americans also knocked off Serbia to take second place behind Spain followed by France at 3-2 and Serbia at 2-3.

Group B went pretty much as expected at the top with Greece finishing undefeated followed by Croatia and Argentina both with two losses. But Senegal upset both Puerto Rico and Croatia on consecutive days to advance from the group stage for the first time.

Reigning champs USA and 2010 finalists Turkey were drawn into Group C together, and while USA eased through the group undefeated, Turkey narrowly beat New Zealand and Finland before a 13-point win over Dominican Republic for second place. The Dominicans, New Zealand and Ukraine ended in a three-way tie at 2-3 with Ukraine failing to advance along with 1-4 Finland.

In Group D, Lithuania took top honors thanks to a win over second placed Slovenia while Australia, who upended Lithuania were third followed by Mexico, who advanced to the knockout games thanks to a win over Angola.

The toughness of Group A showed in the Round of 16 as all four teams beat their opponents from Group B to reach the Quarter-Finals, including Serbia surprising Greece 90-72 and France defeating Croatia 69-64. The latter was one of only two close games in the Round of 16 along with Turkey beating Australia 65-64 thanks to Emir Preldzic's game-winner three-pointer with 5 seconds to play. 

The twists continued in the Quarter-Finals as France shocked the crowd in Madrid by knocking off hosts Spain 65-52 in a massive upset as many expected Spain to face USA in the Final for the title and a revenge after 2008 and 2012 Final losses at the Olympic Games. Serbia meanwhile continued their strong roll with an 84-56 drubbing of Brazil. The other half of the bracket saw USA ease past Slovenia and Lithuania finally ended Turkey's run of tight wins with a 73-61 victory.

Serbia had one more surprise though as they upended France 90--85 in the Semi-Finals to set up a date with USA, who walloped Lithuania 96-68. France rebounded for a 95-93 win in the third place game - for their first podium finish. 

The Final was not much of a game as USA blasted out of the gates with a 35-21 first quarter in cruising to a 129-92 win over Serbia. Kyrie Irving scored 26 points on 6-of-6 three-pointers and James Harden added 23 points to pace eight Americans in double figures.

The best player:  Kyrie Irving, MVP

The USA team was very balanced with seven players scoring at least 9.8 points. And a number of those players could have been named Most Valuable Player. But the award went to Kyrie Irving, who really stepped up late in the tournament.

Irving was fifth on the team in scoring - but only 19 points total fewer than leading scorer James Harden - with 12.1 points to go along with 2.6 rebounds per game, a team-high 3.6 assists and 1.9 steals, ranking second on the USA squad.


Irving started the World Cup modestly with 9 points and 4 assists against Finland before picking up 13 points and 5 assists in a win over Turkey and 10 points and 4 steals in a comfortable victory over New Zealand. Irving contributed just 6 points and 2 assists against Dominican Republic but finished the group stage with 11 points and a tournament-best 6 assists in beating Ukraine.

Irving had his lowest scoring output in the Round of 16 with just 4 points and 2 assists against Mexico. He followed that with 12 points and 4 steals in a win over Slovenia in the Quarter-Finals. Then it was Irving's time to shine. He poured in a team-high 18 points as USA beat Lithuania 96-68 in the Semi-Finals. He was USA's top scorer again in the Final with 26 points and 4 assists in a 129-92 win over Serbia.

Irving was joined on the All-Tournament Team by USA teammate Kenneth Faried, Milos Teodosic of Serbia, Nicola Batum from France and Spain's Pau Gasol.

The best game: Serbia v France, Semi-Finals

The second Semi-Final pitted Serbia against France for the right to take on United States in the Final. The two teams faced off in the group stage in Granada and France trailed for most of the game but won 74-73 on Joffrey Lauvergne's free throw with 1.1 seconds remaining.

France were coming off one of the biggest upsets in FIBA history as they defeated hosts and major title contenders Spain in the Quarter-Finals. Serbia for their part had followed three losses in the group stage with knockout wins over undefeated Greece and Brazil.

France committed 5 turnovers in the first 5 minutes and Serbia got three-pointers from Milos Teosodic and Stefan Markovic in an 11-0 run to lead 20-10. And the gap was 21-15 after 10 minutes.

Teodosic scored 5 points as Serbia opened the second quarter on a 9-0 surge to extend the advantage to 15 points - 30-15. France answered with six straight points only to see Teodosic continue his superb playing, moving to 18 points in the first half and the cushion swelled to 18 points - 43-25. The French went into the break down 46-32.

France had a solid defensive third quarter, giving up just 15 points but could only get as close as 12 points and Serbia were up 61-46 going into the final quarter. And it would be a wild comeback for Les Bleus

Nicolas Batum scored a France career high 35 points in the loss

Serbia needed nearly 3 minutes to finally score and two three-pointers from both Evan Fournier and Batum sparked a 15-4 surge to trim the gap to 65-61. Bogdan Bogdanovic began taking over with a three-ball and two layups among his 10 points to offset two more Batum triples and Serbia were still up 80-74.

Thomas Heurtel's three-pointer with 66 seconds to go made it a one-possession game 82-79, and the playmaker added three free throws to pull within 84-82 with 17 seconds remaining. Serbia kept their cool with Nikola Kalinic, Nemanja Bjelica and Marko Simonovic all hitting two free throws in the final 16 seconds to secure the 90-85 win.

Teodosic ended with 24 points, while Bogdanovic had 13 points and Bjelica chipped in 10 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Batum finished with a France career high 35 points - after averaging 9.9 points coming into the game, Diaw had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Heurtel contributed 12 points and 6 assists.

The biggest story: Susijengi conquer Spain in Finland World Cup debut

Finland may have bagged only one victory at the 2014 World Cup in Spain, but the country definitely represented one of the best stories of the tournament - or better said, the country's fans.

More than 10,000 Finnish fans flocked to Bilbao for Finland's World Cup debut. The Susijengi - or 'Wolfpack' as they are known - turned the northern Spanish city into their own playground with a never-to-be-forgotten atmosphere at games. They even helped turn Bilbao into a week-long party.

Finnish fans needed just three hours to buy up their allotment of "Follow Your Team" passes for the group stage of the World Cup. 

Finland had been making strides on the international level, snapping a 16-year drought and finally playing at the FIBA EuroBasket again in 2011 and finishing ninth and repeating that feat in 2013. The EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia drew special attention due to so many Finnish fans coming to Koper to see the team's games.

Finns timed their holiday to watch EuroBasket in Slovenia, and the fantastic support helped Finland to a magical run in 2013. with victories over Turkey, Russia, Greece and Sweden in the first group stage. Finland also stunned hosts Slovenia for another win in the second group stage, just missing the Quarter-Finals.

Susijengi at FIBA EuroBasket 2013

Finland's World Cup debut in 2014 came with the first game against mighty USA and it was a clear 114-55 result for the Americans. The next day, August 31, Finland celebrated their first World Cup win, beating Ukraine 81-76. After the win, several thousand spectators headed to the fan zone outside the Bilbao Exhibition Center and had a huge party. The Finnish players and coaches even went to greet the fans.

The fantastic support was recognized in June 2017 when the Finnish Basketball Federation retired the number 6 jersey. The move signifies that the number will now be worn solely by the team's sixth player - the fans.

The best performance: JJ Barea

The top scorer of the tournament was JJ Barea, who could only help Puerto Rico to one victory in five games and did not play after the group stage. The point guard led all players with 22.0 points and also picked up 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists. He shot a blistering 53 percent from long range with 20 made three-pointers in the five games.


He started the tournament with 24 points and 5 three-pointers in a loss to Argentina. Barea was held to his lowest output of 15 points in losing to Senegal and then poured in 21 points as Puerto Rico were beaten by Greece as well.

Barea stepped up in the team's fourth game with 30 points - including making 11-of-12 free throws - as Puerto Rico knocked off Philippines 77-73. Barea finished the event with 20 points in a final defeat against Croatia.

Stats leaders

Player (country) Points Per Game
JJ Barea (Puerto Rico) 22.0
Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia) 21.2
Andray Blatche (Philippines) 21.2
Pau Gasol (Spain) 20.0
Luis Scola (Argentina) 19.5
Player (country) Rebounds Per Game
Andray Blatche (Philippines) 13.8
Hamed Ehaddadi (Iran) 11.4
Gorgui Dieng (Senegal) 10.7
Giannis Bourousis (Greece) 9.2
Luis Scola (Argentina) 8.5
Player (country) Assists Per Game
Petteri Koponen (Finland) 5.8
Xane Dalmeida (Senegal) 5.3
Ricky Rubio (Spain) 5.1
Pooh Jeter (Ukraine) 5.0
Milos Teodosic (Serbia) 4.4