Canada aspires to a historic bronze in the World Cup against its neighbor the United States

Canadian point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a strong candidate for MVP of the tournament


The Canadian basketball team will play against the United States this Sunday (10:30 am) in the consolation final of the men’s World Championship, which is being held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, where winning the bronze medal would be historic for the team. of the maple leaf.

Not in vain, Canada has already broken its ceiling in the men’s World Cups during this edition. Never before had the national team that gave birth to James Naismith, inventor of basketball in 1891, gone so far. The team now coached by the Spanish Jordi Fernández has been one of the sensations of the tournament, leaving the still champion in the gutter.

In that last match of the second group stage, with overtones of the round of 16 because it was ‘win or go home’, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shone again in the Canadian victory (85-88) against Spain. His 30 points, seven assists and 36 rating credits were a nightmare for the team defending the title to kneel.

But the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard had another ace up his sleeve heading into the quarterfinals, scoring 31 points along with 10 rebounds and 40 PIR credits in his team’s victory (100-89) against Slovenia. In addition, he eclipsed Luka Doncic in a duel with a view to having a lot of weight in the election of the tournament’s MVP.

Winning that award will depend on whether he resumes that starring role, or if, on the contrary, he is as watched as he was during the defeat (95-86) in the semifinals against Serbia. His card with 15 points, nine assists and 22 rating credits, formidable for any other player, were insufficient for what Gilgeous-Alexander showed.

His performances last season in the NBA precede him, so the United States team will be very attentive to every play that the Thunder point guard guides. If the American players can stop him and also minimize RJ Barrett, much of his mission will be completed.

And that mission is none other than to redeem themselves from the defeat (111-113) in the semis against Germany. Steve Kerr’s charges did not speculate, attacking hard; Gone are the days when the US sent kids to FIBA ​​competitions. But a certain lack of ingenuity was noticeable in the final minutes against a rival in a state of grace.

An almost perfect game by Dennis Schröder, Franz Wagner, Daniel Theis and company kept a US team from the path to the title that also did not win it in the 2019 World Cup. And chaining two World Cups without gold is something that stings. within the NBA, which had taken this appointment seriously with Steve Kerr and his illustrious assistants on the bench.

In the absence of distributing gold and silver in the very final between Germany and Serbia, this fight for bronze will calibrate the thermometer of North America one year before the Paris Olympic Games and will complete the positions of honor, after Slovenia has finished seventh, beating Italy (85-89) and that Latvia finished fifth, beating Lithuania (98-63).