Ainars Bagatskis | Photo: FIBA
The Ukrainian men’s basketball team, led by Latvian coach Ainars Bagatskis, won its first victory in the 2023 World Cup qualification on Monday. Ukraine won Northern Macedonia in the second qualifying round in Kiev with a score of 78:61 (14:17, 16:17, 19:13, 29:14).
For the Ukrainians, Artyom Pustov was the most productive with 18 points, Denis Lukashov and Ilya Sidorov scored 13 points each, Lukashov also won seven rebounds, and Oleksandr Lipov had 12 points. Boyan Krstevsky scored 14 points for opponents, while Jacob Willie added 12 points and nine rebounds.
In the second subgroup G game, Spain played Georgia at home with a score of 89:61 (23:15, 24:16, 17:10, 25:20). Spain had 14 points for Chavi Lopez-Arosteguj and 13 points for Haimem Fernandes. Georgia scored 21 points and nine rebounds were won by Giorgi Shermadini, while Beka Burjanadze and Ted Macpheden scored 14 points each. In subgroup G, Spain has won two games in two games, Ukraine and Georgia have won one, and Northern Macedonia has lost in both battles.
Meanwhile, the second victory in the qualification was won by Lithuania, which prevailed over the Czech Republic with 74:66 (19:23, 26: 9, 9:18, 20:16). Mindaugas Kuzminsks, who scored 13 points, 12 points and 11 rebounds for Martin Ehod, went to Lithuania to help Zenit from the ULEB Euroleague club in St. Petersburg, but Eģirds Žukauskas won eight balls under the baskets. Tomas Kizlinks scored 21 points for the Czechs and Jaromirs Bohažiks added 13 points.
Also, the second victory in subgroup F was won by Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was superior to Bulgaria in the opponent’s field with the result 85:75 (25:19, 25:23, 19:13, 16:20). Miralem Halilovich scored 21 points and six points under the baskets, while Janan Musam scored 17 points. Chavdar Kostov had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bulgarians. Lithuanians and Bosnians have two victories in the group, while Bulgarians and Czechs have suffered two losses.
Group E’s leader France also has two victories, beating Hungary 78:54 (21: 8, 24:21, 18: 9, 15:16). The French scored 19 points and six rebounds for Louis Labeire and 15 points for Muhammad Jaile. Benke Silard scored 14 points for the Hungarians.
The first victory in this group was won by Montenegro, which took the lead over Portugal at home with the result 83:69 (24:14, 17:22, 23:20, 19:13). Justin Kobs was the winner with 22 points, Vladimir Mikhailovich scored 16 points, and Zoran Nikolich had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Daniels scored 16 points for Portugal. In group E, France has won two games in two games, Montenegro and Hungary have won, and Portugal has lost two.
In subgroup H, Russia has two successes in two matches, beating Iceland by 89:65 (17: 4, 25:14, 35:18, 12:29). Andrei Zubkov had 14 points and eight rebounds, Sergei Toropov had 12 points and Ivan Strebkov had 11 points and six assists. Elvars Fridriksons scored 13 points for Icelanders.
In subgroup H, Italy won a difficult home victory over the Netherlands at 75:73 (22:18, 25:21, 13:11, 15:23). The Italians had 18 points and six balls under the baskets by Nikolo Akelem, 13 points and six assists by Stefano Tonuts, and 13 points by Amadeo Tesitori. For the Netherlands, Shein Hammink scored 19 points and Wortiy de Jong added 14 points. Russia leads the group with two victories, followed by Italy and Iceland with one success, but the Netherlands has lost in two battles.
In the first qualifying round, 32 European Zone teams are divided into eight groups of four each. There will be two games with each group team – one at home, one away. The games are scheduled in three windows: November 20-30, February 21 – March 1 (2022), June 27 – July 5 (2022).
The three strongest teams in each group will enter the second round of the qualifying tournament, where they will play six more games. In this round, the games will take place on August 22-30, November 7-15, February 20-28 (2023). There will be two games in each of the windows. The three strongest teams of the four groups will reach the World Cup main event. A total of 12 national teams from the European area will qualify for the World Cup. The final of the World Cup in September 2023 will take place in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.