USA vs Slovenia and France vs Spain quarter-final line-up so far…
The FIBA World Cup 2014 Round of 16 stage commenced on Saturday, with Team USA and Spain advancing to the quarter-finals after comfortable wins.
With the elimination-round of the competition continuing on Sunday, the tournament favourites were first up as USA progressed, continuing to advance without being thoroughly tested by their opponents.
Their victory over Mexico was as comfortable as their group games, although it is likely to change next week when they take on Slovenia.
Stephen Curry made six three-pointers and finished the game with 20 points and believes that after an indifferent start to the tournament, the Americans are now gaining momentum and will continue to improve as the knockout stage progresses.
“In 2010, we did that,” Curry said, ESPN reports.
“Every game was fun, it was energetic, just enjoying the ride and I think now we’re here in Barcelona and got our first medal game under our belt, we got the wheels going and excited to get back to work on Tuesday.”
Golden State Warriors team-mate Klay Thompson added 15 points, while DeMarcus Cousins had 11 points and seven rebounds in less than 14 minutes of action to ensure that there were no slip-ups on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Dragic brothers, Goran and Zoran, will now attempt to mastermind the downfall of Team USA ahead of their quarter-final clash on Tuesday, with the latter impressing against the Dominican Republic.
Zoran tallied a game-high 18 points and four steals in just over 32 minutes on the court, while the brothers are now averaging a combined 29.7 points and 5.8 assists per game.
However, Slovenia were defeated by the Americans in an exhibition game ahead of the tournament, and so they will need to find something special if they are to upset the odds and advance to the final four.
Nevertheless, the game of the day was undoubtedly France’s encounter with Croatia, with the Euro Basket 2013 champions holding out to earn a closely-fought victory.
Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum played leading roles in the win although there were big contributions across the roster as Les Bleus held off a late rally from their rivals to move forward.
Next up, they will face hosts Spain who routed Senegal thanks to another big performance from Pau Gasol with 17 points and five rebounds.
The Chicago Bulls star is now averaging 21.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in the tournament, while brother Marc added nine points, six rebounds, three assists and four blocks to seal the win.
Serge Ibaka also played a key role while point guard Ricky Rubio had an enjoyable night’s work with seven points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals.
The ideal final between Spain and USA still appears likely, but the Spaniards continue to impress with their strength in depth and it promises to be an exciting week ahead start with the remainder of the Round of 16 clashes.
USA 86-63 Mexico
Slovenia 71-61 Dominican Republic
France 69-64 Croatia
Spain 89-56 Senegal