After two losses to Senegal and Greece, Croatia, with Barça’s Ante Tomic and Mario Hezonja in the side avoided an unexpected early exit from the World Cup by beating Puerto Rico (103-82) in a head-to-head between the two nations for a place in the last sixteen.
After storming into an early 13-0 lead, victory was never really in doubt, and Tomic completed 13 minutes on court with 7 points, 2 rebounds and 5 assists. Hezonja only got six minutes, in which he contributed 2 points and 2 rebounds.
Croatia now go on to face European champions France in the round of 16, to be played at 6.00 PM CET in Madrid on September 6.
Juan Carlos Navarro and Àlex Abrines’ Spain were already safely through and ended up topping their group with a 5-0 record. In their final game, they had little trouble overcoming Serbia (73-89), although it was a game with very little at stake for either side. Even so, Spain were spectacular as they ended the first period with a massive 34 points, with the Gasol brothers, both formerly of FCB, in stunning form. Juan Carlos Navarro ended with 15 points, two rebounds and two assists, while Abrines got two points. Spain start the knockout phase against Senegal, fourth place finisher in Group B, on September 6 at 10.00 PM CET.
Brazil and Marcelinho Huertas finished second behind Spain in Group A, which they ended with the biggest win so far in the competition against minnows Egypt (128-65). Although it was something of a nothing game, Marcelinho was not rested and scored 12 points. Brazil now face a cracking second round match with South American rivals Argentina.