BEIRUT, Lebanon – New Zealand and Lebanon are the first two teams to advance from the Asian Qualifiers to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
When the Philippines defeated Saudi Arabia live in Manila, just after the Tall Blacks had defeated Jordan in the previous round, New Zealand was the first Asian Qualifiers team to confirm their ticket.
Lebanon, who also needed the Philippines to win, then defeated India to secure their spot in the 2023 World Cup.
With an unbeaten record at the end of Window 4, Australia was likewise very close to securing World Cup qualifying. However, with China’s victory over Bahrain, Australia has still not mathematically secured their spot.
Next year, the Tall Blacks will participate in their seventh World Cup, their sixth consecutively. They will be attempting to surpass their World Cup 2019 performance, which saw them place 19th, and to repeat their 2002 run, which saw them advance all the way to the semifinals. FIBA Hall of Famer Pero Cameron, who is also the current team’s head coach, was a member of that 2002 squad.
Lebanon hasn’t participated in the World Cup since 2010, and this will be their fourth appearance since qualifying for three consecutive tournaments from 2002 to 2010. It’s very likely that none of the World Cup 2010 team members will be making a comeback, as Lebanon’s current crop of talents have proven themselves more than deserving of a place on the pitch. Lebanon has never placed higher than 16th at a World Cup and will probably hope to place at least as high as that or even higher next year.
As teams from Asia and Oceania compete in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, New Zealand and Lebanon will now join co-hosts the Philippines and Japan.
For group E with 6/18 games played, New Zealand has had 6 games played, with a staggering 6 win streak – that’s 0 losses for the Tall Blacks, a 100% win rate so far.
Lebanon Cedars, with also 6 games played, has had 5 wins on their chests, a single loss to fill the 6th. A very impressive series nonetheless. This leaves the Cedars with an 83.3% win rate.
Meanwhile at the other bracket, Australia stands mighty strong with 8 games played having won all those in a massively overwhelming 8 win streak. This gives the Australia Boomers 100% win rate as well, so far.