Experts expected the USA to win the tournament, but the Americans lost three of their last four games in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Dark horse Germany won their first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup title by defeating Serbia 83-77 on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
German NBA basketball player Dennis Schroder was the star of the final, finishing the game against Serbia with 28 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Named the MVP of the tournament, Schroder went in 8-0, becoming the fifth consecutive World Cup champion to go unbeaten.
“It’s an unbelievable group,” Schroder said after the game before being interrupted by his teammates, who snuffed him with water as they jumped and chanted in celebration.
“It’s unbelievable going 8-0,” the 29-year-old point guard added.
The all-European affair final was an unexpected moment for fans watching as Germany reached their first-ever final by defeating five-time winners, USA, in their maiden semifinal.
Serbia reached the finals to play in their first FIBA World Cup final since 2014.
Team USA entered the 2023 FIBA World Cup as the favourites since it featured an all-casted NBA starting lineup; however the Americans would lose three of its last four games to Lithuania, Germany and Canada en-route to its fourth-place finish.
American Head coach Steve Kerr said international basketball had stepped up dramatically in the last few years, stating, “This is not 1992 anymore.”
“The game has been globalised over the last 30 years. These games are difficult. This is not 1992 anymore. Players are better all over the world. Teams are better. It’s not easy to win the World Cup or the Olympics,” said the famed basketball icon.
Spanish basketball legend Pau Gasol said basketball has moved onto a global stage, which can lead teams to take down the US.
“The game has become so global. Players have grown. Players have believed. They’ve gotten better globally, and that’s a credit to a lot of different people,” Gasol said at the FIBA World Cup global ambassadors talk show.
“It’s great to see two teams from Europe that have earned their way because it’s not easy to beat a talented USA team and a very good Canadian team who have played well the whole tournament,” the Los Angeles Laker legend added.
The FIBA Basketball tournament will now wait another four years before being hosted in Qatar.
The Qatari tournament will be the third to feature 32 teams and and the third to be held in Asia consecutively, after the 2019 tournament in China and the 2023 edition co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.