25 August, 2023
10 September
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When and where will these debutant teams play their first-ever World Cup games?

MIES (Switzerland) - Qualifying for the FIBA Basketball World Cup is a big deal. It doesn’t get much better than making it to this grand stage.

It might feel like clockwork for a couple of national teams, Brazil and USA, as they’ve yet to miss a single World Cup. However, there are some that are getting ready to make their first appearance in the competition when it tips off from 25 August to 10 September in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.

We’ve seen them battle their way through the World Cup Qualifiers and we’ve witnessed how much it means for them and their fans to have made it through to be among the 32 teams at the World Cup. It will be quite a historic moment when these teams take the court for their first World Cup game… playing for their first-ever World Cup win.

Here is when and where the first-ever World Cup games will be played for these debutants: South Sudan, Cape Verde, Georgia, and Latvia!

South Sudan (vs Puerto Rico)

26 August 2023
Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Philippines

Aside from a three-point loss to Senegal, South Sudan won the rest of their African Qualifiers games to complete a historic run to the World Cup. Their fans have been jubilant through their entire Qualifiers fun, especially when they were able to confirm their World Cup spot on 24 February in Egypt.

So when South Sudan plays their first World Cup game at the Araneta Coliseum in the Philippines against Puerto Rico on 26 August, there’s a good chance that there will be a wild crowd in the seats of the traveling fans in attendance.

Cape Verde vs Georgia

26 August 2023
Okinawa Arena, Okinawa, Japan

We will have ourselves a unique situation in Okinawa. Among the four teams making their first World Cup appearance, at least one will be coming away with a win in their debut game as Cape Verde and Georgia face each other.

Not only were the “Blue Sharks” Cape Verde among one of the last teams to clinch World Cup tickets, but they are also the smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup.

Georgia clinched their spot a few days earlier, giving the basketball-crazed nation a reason to go wild in celebration.

Will it be Cape Verde to seal a win in their debut, potentially led by Edy Tavares? Or will it be Georgia, who can stack up talents like Toko Shengelia, Giorgi Shermadini, Goga Bitadze, and Sandro Mamukelasvili?

Latvia vs Lebanon

25 August 2023
Indonesia Arena, Jakarta, Indonesia

It feels a bit harsh for Latvia to be greeted to their very first World Cup experience with being drawn into what some feel is the “Group of Death” in Group F, meaning they are set to face France, Canada, and Lebanon.

Getting through a tough group like this would be tough for any team, let alone a World Cup debutant. However, not all teams are like Latvia where they are expected to head into the global meet with a bonafide NBA star like Kristaps Porzingis.

Latvia were the first team to formally clinch a ticket to this World Cup through the Qualifiers and did so in fashion with a win over Greece. Fans will be waiting to see what they can do in their first World Cup run.