Germany have won their first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup title by beating undermanned Serbia 83-77 in a slugfest of the two European powerhouses in Manila.
Germany leaned on a 22-10 surge in the third quarter on Sunday, orchestrated by brothers Franz and Moritz Wagner, to build a cushion and never let go of the lead to win the World Cup’s first all-European final since 2006.
The tournament’s most valuable player Dennis Schroder carried Germany with a game-high 28 points, way above his average of 17.9 points per game, and added two rebounds and two assists.
Germany became the first team to win a FIBA World Cup crown in their final debut since Spain in 2006. Serbia absorbed another heartbreak after losing to the United States 129-92 in the 2014 final in Madrid, Spain, through they finished better than their quarterfinal exit in 2019.
The two teams, who boast strong teamwork and chemistry, traded baskets in the first half, and entered the break at 47 apiece.
But Germany built up a 12-point lead late on in the third quarter and never looked back.
Marko Guduric converted two free throws, cutting Germany’s lead to two points, 79-77, with 39.5 ticks to go in the final frame. A costly turnover and missed three-pointers prevented Serbia’s comeback.
Serbia’s starting guard Ognjen Dobric had to be carried off the floor with an ankle injury with 7:40 to go in the first quarter. Serbia also played without power forward Borisa Simanic, who underwent surgery in Manila to remove a kidney after taking a blow to his midsection against South Sudan in a preliminary game.
Germany’s previous best showing at the men’s World Cup was in 2002, when MVP Dirk Nowitzki led them to the bronze medal at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) event.
“World champions!!! Incredible! What a team!!!!” former Dallas Mavericks star Nowitzki wrote on X.
Canada take bronze
Earlier, Canada bagged their first World Cup podium finish at the expense of short-handed United States 127-118 in overtime in a riveting, record-setting bronze-medal game.
Hot-shooting Dillon Brooks, who will play for the Houston Rockets next season, powered the Canadians with his tournament-high 39 points, hitting seven of eight three-pointers, along with four rebounds and five assists. It was the most points scored by a player in a medal-winning game in tournament history.
Brooks earned MVP chants from the crowd with his all-time performance, a far cry from the loud boos in Canada’s previous games.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada’s leading scorer, rebounder and passer, finished with 31 points, six rebounds and 12 assists. “It was fun trying to take what the defence gives me,” he told reporters.
Team USA’s NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr and forward Brandon Ingram were sidelined due to illness.
The team’s leading scorer, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, recorded 24 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Canada capitalised on a characteristically lethargic US start to take a 34-21 lead in the first quarter, before Team USA fought back.
Canada’s Kelly Olynyk missed a potential game-winning three at the buzzer, ending the fourth quarter at 111 each.
The Americans recorded the most points they have conceded in a World Cup game.
Canada achieved multiple milestones in the tournament, including their semifinal debut, while qualifying for the Summer Olympics for the first time since 2000.
Despite the defeat, the US finished better than their seventh spot in 2019, their worst-ever major international tournament result. The US have won the tournament a record five times.