Basketball World Cup: Spain and Argentina to battle for title

Spain World Cup Basketball
Spain won the World Cup in 2006

Argentina will face Spain in the Basketball World Cup final in China after beating France 80-66 in the semi-finals.

France could not repeat their quarter-final heroics, when they knocked out the USA, as Argentina dominated.

Earlier Spain beat Australia 95-88 in double overtime to claim their place in Sunday's Beijing final.

They were on the verge of going out but Australia missed a foul shot in the dying seconds with the game tied 71-71.

Spain took control in the second of two added periods to reach their first final since their 2006 win.

Their NBA champion Marc Gasol was his team's top scorer, the Toronto Raptors star hitting 33 points in the comeback victory, while point guard Ricky Rubio contributed 12 assists to go with his 19 points.

Patty Mills, the San Antonio Spurs point guard, was Australia's driving force, leading all scorers with 34 points.

He guided his team into an eight-point second-quarter lead, which increased to double figures in the third.

But, with victory within their grasp with 4.7 remaining, Mills missed one of two efforts from the free-throw line to allow Spain another shot in overtime, which they took at the second time of asking after the first period ended all square.

Super Scola

France's 10-point win over the USA in the previous round was one of the shocks of the tournament - even with the holders fielding under-strength squad.

But they were well beaten by a hard-working Argentine side inspired by veteran forward Luis Scola.

Argentina, who last reached the final in 2002 and won the inaugural competition in 1950, led from the first period, despite being the only quarter-final team without any current NBA players.

Scola, previously star of the world's top league, scored 28 points and took 13 rebounds as they went into half-time with a seven-point lead.

France struggled to find their rhythm, shooting just 39% from the field, while Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz, who hit 21 points in the win over US, struggled to just three.

On Saturday the US play Poland in the seventh/eighth play-off, while Serbia face the Czech Republic in the fifth/sixth game.

France and Australia meet in the third place game before Sunday's final.

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