US suffer second loss in as many days at World Cup

Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic up against the US double team of Kemba Walker and Myles Turner. (Reuters)
Updated 13 September 2019

US suffer second loss in as many days at World Cup

DONGGUAN: Deposed champions the US lost 94-89 to Serbia in a dead-rubber at the Basketball World Cup on Thursday, a day after surrendering their 13-year unbeaten run.

A young Team USA made up of second-tier NBA stars were defeated 89-79 in the quarterfinals by France on Wednesday, bringing a premature close to their World Cup defense.

More significantly, it was the reigning world and Olympic champions’ first defeat in a major competition since the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup.

Thursday’s “classification” game in Dongguan was the final that never was: The holders against the favorites.

The US were headed for a humiliating second loss in as many days, down a scarcely believable 32-7 after the first quarter.

The Americans, who have already qualified for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, failed to score a point during one barren five-minute period.

A rout was on the cards for Serbia, whose tournament also came to a surprise quarterfinal end, at the hands of Argentina.

The Americans’ 70-year-old coach Gregg Popovich chewed his lip and brooded.

But the US fought back in the second quarter and reduced the deficit to just four points at half-time.

Going into the fourth quarter, Serbia —  led once more by the Sacramento Kings’ Bogdan Bogdanovic — were only three points ahead.

But with nothing but pride to play for, the US comeback fell narrowly short. They have another classification match on Saturday.

Bogdanovic, who has been one of the players of the tournament, led all scoring with 28 points.

For the Americans, Harrison Barnes had 22 points. In Friday’s semifinals, Spain play Australia and France take on Argentina.


Setien plays down Messi and Griezmann uncertainty

Updated 04 July 2020

Setien plays down Messi and Griezmann uncertainty

  • Messi’s contract is due to expire next year

MADRID: Barcelona coach Quique Setien moved to ease concerns on Saturday about the futures of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

Messi’s contract is due to expire next year and, according to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, the Argentinian has stopped talks due to frustrations with the direction the club is going in.

Asked about suggestions Messi plans to leave Barcelona, Setien said: “I won’t speculate about this because I haven’t heard from him so I’m not aware of him saying anything.

“I see him well, everything else is speculation that I won’t get involved in. We speak about what we have to speak about and nothing else.”

Griezmann’s position is also in doubt after a disappointing first season since joining from Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona play away at in-form Villarreal on Sunday, with Real Madrid sitting four points clear at the top of the table.

“He’s fine, I exchanged a few words with him. He’s a great professional. He understands the situation because he’s seen it before,” Setien said about Griezmann.

“It will not affect him because he is a very positive person. We can count on him 100 percent.”

Griezmann has started three of Barca’s last four matches on the bench, including the crunch games against Sevilla and Atletico, both of which Barcelona drew.

Setien described Griezmann as “unquestionable” last month.

“I was talking about hierarchies but I haven’t said he is unquestionable. Griezmann is a great player and important to the team,” said Setien.

“When he plays, you ask me about Ansu Fati and vice-versa. Not everyone can play.

“I am not ignorant, every club has its hierarchies but at a club like Barca where there are so many players, not everyone is able to play.”

Barca’s form, as well as suggestions of unrest in the dressing room, have placed scrutiny on Setien’s job.

He has a contract until 2022, with a break clause in 2021, but it remains to be seen if he is in charge for next season, or even the Champions League in August.

“I have experienced it other times,” said Setien, when asked about the uncertainty.

“It is not something I can control. This the circus that we are in and we accept it.

“I don’t exhaust myself by reading or listening to the noise around me.”

Frenkie de Jong is not available to face Villarreal as the midfielder is still nursing a calf injury. Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele are also out.