The 2010 FIBA World Championship, which takes place in Turkey from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12, boasts 24 teams that made it into the draw in various ways. The draw took place on Dec. 15, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, at Ciragan Palace, on the European shores of the Bosphorus.

Turkey was the first team to qualify for the World Championship by virtue of hosting the event. The United States was the second team to qualify because it won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Eighteen teams qualified through FIBA Continental (Zone) Championships, and the remaining four teams earned wild-card bids.

The continental events included the FIBA Africa Championship, in which 16 teams battled for three spots in the World Championship; the FIBA Americas Championship, in which 10 teams from North and South America competed for four spots; the FIBA Asia Championship, where 16 teams competed for three slots in the World Championship; the FIBA Asia Championship, in which 16 teams battled for three spots in Turkey; the FIBA EuroBasket, where 16 teams battled for six slots in the World Championship; and the FIBA Oceania Championship, in which Australia and New Zealand faced each other with both teams earning spots in Turkey.

At the FIBA Africa Championship, hosted by Libya, Angola captured its sixth straight title, giving it a grand total of 10 African Championship titles. Angola defeated Tunisia, 79-69, in a semifinal, and then beat Ivory Coast, 82-72, in the final. Both Angola and Ivory Coast qualified for Turkey, and then Tunisia took the third spot by defeating Cameroon in the third-place game, 83-68.

At the FIBA Americas Championship in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the four tournament semifinalists – Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and Argentina, all qualified for Turkey. In one semifinal, Brazil defeated Canada, 73-65. In the other semifinal, Puerto Rico defeated Argentina, 85-80.

In the final, in front of 10,000 fans, Puerto Rico came back from a 13-point deficit to edge Brazil, 61-60, to capture its fourth FIBA Americas Championship title.

Over in China for the FIBA Asia Championship, Iran successfully defended its title by defeating Jordan in a semifinal, 77-75, and China in the final, 70-52. It marked the second straight FIBA Asia Championship title for Iran, which appears to be taking the place of China as the dominant force in Asian basketball.

By reaching the final, Iran and China both qualified for the World Championship. Also qualifying was Jordan, which defeated Lebanon in the Bronze Medal game, 80-66.

From the FIBA EuroBasket 16-team event, six teams qualified for Turkey, including tournament champion Spain, which beat Serbia in the final, 85-63. Semifinalists Greece and Slovenia, along with quarterfinalists France and Croatia also qualified for the FIBA World Championship.

Turkey also competed in EuroBasket and took eighth place after losing in a quarterfinal to Greece, 76-74.

In addition to the automatic qualifiers – Turkey and the United States – and the 18 teams which qualified through FIBA Continental (Zone) Championships, four teams earned wild-card bids. In order to be considered as a wild-card, teams had to fulfill certain criteria. For example, a team had to have competed in a Zone qualification tournament. Other factors included success of the team, government support for the team’s National Federation and popularity of basketball within the country.

Fourteen teams paid $500,000 to apply for a wild-card spot. After cutting the number of teams down to eight, FIBA selected four teams for wild-card bids on Dec. 12, 2009. The teams selected were Germany, Lebanon, Lithuania and Russia.

The 24 teams were divided into four groups of six, with the top four-ranked teams leading the way in each group. Argentina, Serbia, Australia, Jordan, Germany and Angola are in Group A in Kayseri. The United States, Croatia, Brazil, Tunisia, Slovenia and Iran are in Group B in Istanbul. Greece, Puerto Rico, China, Russia, Ivory Coast and host Turkey are in Group C in Ankara. And Spain, Canada, France, Lebanon, Lithuania and New Zealand are in Group D in Izmir.

Each team will play the other five teams in their group, then the top four teams in each group move on to the Eighth-Finals, which starts Sept. 4. The quarterfinals start Sept. 8, with the final slated for Sept. 12 in Istanbul.

Picture credit: Digia ServiceCreative Commons Attribution

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