29 June, 2019
07 July
31 Rokas Jokubaitis (LTU)
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Final Four: Who will lift the U19 World Cup trophy in Heraklion?

HERAKLION (Greece) - Lithuania will get another chance to knock off the United States at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2019 but this time in the Semi-Finals as the two former champs square off for a spot in the Final while upstart Mali look for another upset against France.  

Before we dive into Saturday's matchups, who is YOUR favorite to win it all?


United States renew history with Lithuania

United States and Lithuania have faced off quite a bit in this competition - though just once before in a knockout game. That came in the Semi-Finals in 2013 in Prague, where the Americans prevailed 100-60. The matchup in the second Semi-Final will be the second behind these teams in Heraklion after they played on Day 2, a 102-84 victory for the Americans.

The six-time U19 world champs United States have a 6-0 record against Lithuania now, having beaten them in the second group round in 2003, the group stage in 2007, the Eighth-Final Round in 2009 and the Second Group Phase in 2011, which was a 107-105 overtime loss by Lithuania, who went on to win the title that summer - their only U19 crown.

Facts to know:
United States is the leading scoring team in the competition with a 102.2 ppg average while collecting a tournament high 29.8 assists and leading in s
teals (16.4) and ranking averaging a third-best 6.6 blocks per game. United States are third-best in turnovers committed with 14.2 and Lithuania are fourth at 15.2 - though the European turned it over 26 times against the Americans on Day 2. 

Lithuania meanwhile are fifth in scoring, rank first in three-point percentage at 38.3 percent, are third in assists (21.4) , but they are second-to-last in blocks (7 total) .  

Matchup to watch: Rokas Jokubaitis vs Tyrese Haliburton: The Lithuanian point guard picked up 10 points, 3 rebounds and 8 assists against the Americans in Day 2 but he turned the ball over 5 times. 

Mali set sights on more history

While Lithuania and United States have plenty of history in the competition, Mali have never played France as they look to continue their magical run, which has already made them the most successful African team at a FIBA global event. Mali had one victory in 12 games coming into this tournament and have already taken down Latvia, Canada, New Zealand and  Puerto Rico with a loss to Australia in the last Group Phase game. 

France will be another matter though as Frederic Crapez's team considered themselves underdogs coming into the event - having only once secured a win in a Quarter-Finals when they finished third in 2007 in Serbia. France's only loss in Heraklion came against Serbia having knocked off Puerto RIco, China, Greece and Canada. 

Facts to know: Mali are fourth-worst in free throw percentage (56.9 percent) while leading the competition in rebounds (56.6rpg) and offensive rebounds (23.0)  and second in blocks (7.0) and steals (14.4) but sixth-worst in turnovers (17.4) 

France are second in scoring (89.6 ppg),  field goal percentage (47.7 percent)  and steals (14.0) 

Matchup to watch: Siriman Kanoute v K arlton Dimanche: The Mali point guard was the MVP of the FIBA U16 African Championship 2017 and FIBA U18 African Championship 2018 and he has held his own in Heraklion. But Dimanche is an elite defender with great length and quick hands - not to mention with a size advantage over Kanoute.