Thirteen years after their first title, the Spaniards have again become champions of the world of basketball, sweeping Argentineans, surprise guests of the final, 95 to 75, Sunday, September 15, in Beijing. This title confirms Spain as the world's second nation in basketball, a discipline in which the United States have always been unbeatable when they sent the best NBA players. This was not the case this year and they failed in the quarterfinals against France.
In addition to its two world titles, the Iberian team has won three European gold medals (2009, 2011, 2015) and three Olympic medals, including two silver medals. Their only big failure for more than ten years dates from the previous World Cup in 2014, paradoxically in front of their public, when they had lost in quarters.
>> Read: World Basketball: France consoles itself with bronze by beating Australia
A final without suspense
It was in the same sports palace of Wukesong that the Spaniards had long resisted Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, among other stars, in the final of the 2008 Olympics (118-107), in a match considered as the most beautiful of the Fiba basketball history. Three of the players in this event were still there on Sunday, leader Ricky Rubio, winger Rudy Fernandez and pivot Marc Gasol, the latter two having also been world champions in 2006 in Tokyo.
Unbeaten in eight games, the Spaniards were quickly detached (+9 after a quarter-time, +12 at the break) by rolling out their collective game, as shown by the sharing of the mark in the end meeting: Rubio, elected MVP of the tournament , was the best scorer with 20 points, but five other players added more than 11 points each, including the other leader Sergio Llull (15).
Never worried, they sailed with a lead of about twenty points during the third quarter and always kept a margin of at least twelve lengths in the last act. Coach Sergio Scariolo even had the luxury of finishing the match with the players he had used the least during the tournament.
The fabulous double Marc Gasol
Euphoric for a week, the Argentineans are hard down on earth, victims of the syndrome of the first final. Only their pivot Luis Scola had the experience of this kind of match with the great generation of Manu Ginobili, Olympic champion in 2004 and already vice-world champion in 2002, but he scored only 8 points. Only the young Gabriel Deck has floated (24 points).
In terms of reservoir too, Spain comes second after the United States. She won her second world title in the absence of several major players: Pau Gasol (39), injured foot, but also Sergio Rodriguez, Nikola Mirotic and Serge Ibaka, who made the impasse.
With this title, the pivot Marc Gasol, 34, 14 points in the final, managed a fabulous double after winning the ring of NBA champions with the Toronto Raptors three months ago. Only one player had already signed such feat, Lamar Odom, with the Los Angeles Lakers and the United States in 2010.