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Never too early to start discussing the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia! So far three teams have qualified (as of 8/30/2017): Host Russia, Brazil and Iran, leaving 29 spots up for grabs. This international break marks two crucial qualifiers for the United States, with games against Costa Rica (Home Friday, Sept. 1) and Honduras (Away Tuesday, Sept. 5). Two wins and the US will be well on its way to Russia, anything else and they will be looking for points in October, against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago. The rest of the world is in various stages of qualifying: UEFA (Europe) CONCACAF (North America, Central America, Caribbean) CONMEBOL (South America) AFC (Asia) CAF (Africa) OFC (Oceania)
DaveO posted a topic in SportsInterested in the international competition of basketball players I finally caught 1/2 of one game of the 2014 FIBA World Cup; The second half of the semi final game between Lithuania and the US. From a US perspective this year's competition has been riddled with questions concerning the youth of the team, the lack of the most talented big men, and most of all how would this team do without its very best players. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul, all first team All NBA aren't on the team. Likewise big men stars such as Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LeMarcus Aldridge; all of them 2nd or 3rd team All NBA last year were missing. Paul George a third team All NBA last year suffered a devastating injury during practices and had to be dropped. This was a US team devoid of many of its current best players. Additionally the team was historically young since international competition had been opened up to American Professionals. So what occurred during this 2nd half of an international Semi Final game against a Lithuanian team with several NBA players? The US: Outquicked them, Outrebounded them, Outdefensed them, Outran them, Outfastbreaked them, and out shot them from the outside. At the end of the first half the US was up by 7 or 8. By the end of the 3rd quarter the US was up by 27. Game over. Mop up time in the fourth quarter. Center/forward Anthony Davis was a star. He was quicker to the ball, grabbed rebounds and blocked shots, thoroughly dominating the middle in the third quarter. Fast breaks dominated as the guards and swing players scored continuously. The US outside shooters were dramatically open and kept hitting three point shots. It was a crusher. Both the starting center, Davis and his back up DeMarcus Cousins each fouled out with 5 fouls apiece, but the US had two additional big men, who mopped up in the 4th quarter. On a side note in one startling play guard Kyrie Irving, a former one and done Dukie who will get to play with LeBron James next year had one play where he crossed over dribbled twice and added one more fake that entirely befuddled a Lithuanian defender, gave Irving space and he converted a short jumper close in and inside the lane. Poor defender. After that move the poor defensive player might never again know East from West or Right from Left. What a fake. In the other bracket the home team and co-favorite, Spain was upset by France, whom they had crushed earlier in the tournament. During that game as a twist on the international cheer of Goooooooooooooooooooooooal....the French would cheer baskets with a hearty Vooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllllllllllllllaaa. A nice change of pace. France and Serbia will play in a semi final to face the US in the finals on Sunday. To be continued..........