The 2010 FIBA World Championships have not been kind to Spain. Spain has now lost two games at the 2010 FIBA World Championships, and there are still two games before group play comes to an end. When Spain lost to France on Saturday, it seemed like one of those aberrations that they could recover from quickly in order to still win the group. When Spain beat New Zealand on Sunday, it seemed like they were back into the swing of things, but the wheels came off the train on Tuesday when Spain lost again to Lithuania after a terrible fourth-quarter performance.
Spain is the defending FIBA World Champions, having won the 2006 World Championship on the backs of Pau Gasol and Felipe Reyes. Now Spain has returned to the 2010 championships with several new assets on the floor, and they were supposed to present a challenge to the United States and Greece when it came to the final games of the tournament. Now Spain is at risk of not even advancing out of group play, and they will really have to pull it together on Wednesday and Thursday if they want to survive just to see the knockout rounds of the tournament.
On Thursday, Spain plays Canada, who hasn’t won a single game at the 2010 World Championships. That might make this Canadian team even hungrier for a win, but it means that Spain needs to buckle down and put them away early in the contest. First they have to play Lebanon on Wednesday, another team that isn’t supposed to even be in the same class as Spain. Lebanon has only won one of their three games in the tournament, but that could mean that the winner of the Lebanon vs. Spain game will advance to the knockout rounds slated to start at the end of the week.
Each group has the top four teams advance to the knockout rounds, so all that Spain really needs to do is make sure that they are in one of the top four slots in Group D. They can finish fourth out of six teams and still advance, and, if they win their final two games, they could actually end up with the No. 3 seed. With France and Lithuania pulling away from the group, it probably comes down to Spain really hoping they can nab that third seed. The third seed will then play the second seed from Group C, which could be either Russia or Greece. Having a Greece vs. Spain game to decide who makes it to the quarterfinals would certainly be a shock to everyone.