The 2023 FIBA World Cup will be a great comeback of Slovenia into the biggest basketball tournament led by Luka Doncic. For more worlds basketball news here!
Slovenia made its most-awaited qualification for the FIBA World Cup 2023 through European qualifiers as they have a chip on their shoulder, an extra motivation after failing tremendously in the last World Cup qualifiers, unable to reach the 2019 edition, despite being the Eurobasket 2017 Champion.
Last 2021, the Slovenia squad led by their NBA Superstar Luka Doncic made a remarkable run in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament to secure their maiden first Olympic appearance in 2020 Tokyo and performed like an Olympian as they ended their Olympic debut with a fourth-placed finish.
Their last year 2023 World Cup Olympic qualification started with a Balkan Derby against Croatia and went down to the gut-wrenching game and they escaped with a tight victory 76-74 at Croatia’s home in Zagreb. Then it was followed by a tight win against Sweden in a 94-89 victory at home. The Slovenian Curry, Klemen Prepelic led the squad in scoring and assists, including his 30 points and 8 assists against the underdog Sweden.
However, the Slovenian side suffered a major setback as they faced two major losses against Finland in the second window but immediately found some reinforcements in the third and fourth windows with the arrival of Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic. Doncic led the way by averaging 25.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 8.0 assists in three games.
The Eurobasket 2022 setback
The World Cup qualifiers was followed by the prestigious FIBA Eurobasket 2022 as the Slovenian side faced a tougher group stage campaign as they were grouped in the group of death and still finished at the top of the group standings. Then, the quarterfinals came and they faced Poland, which surprisingly was the kryptonite of this Slovenian side as they were ousted by the Polish squad, failing to defend their 2017 title.
A look back at the 2014 FIBA World Cup
The 2023 FIBA World Cup will be the fourth appearance of the national team after appearing for three straight global tournaments between 2006- 2014. Slovenia managed to qualify on all knockout stages – in 2006 they reached the Round of 16 but were able to sustain a victory, then in 2010 and 2014 they managed to reached the quarterfinals with best finish in 2014 as a seventh placer, after losing to USA 119-76 in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup.
In 2006, their first appearance in the World Cup, they finished the group stage campaign with 2-3 records but they failed to beat their European counterparts in Turkey at the round of 16. Then in 2010, Slovenia increased their winning to 4-1, suffering an only defeat in the group stage over USA. They beat Australia to reach the last eight of the 2010 World Cup but were once again ousted by the host Turkey.
Players to Watch Out: Luka Doncic
The Slovenian Head Coach Sekulic managed to form a solid group of relatively young talents. Luka Doncic really wanting to play at the World Cup. With Goran Dragic coming out of retirement to help his country, with those two sharing the floor, teams will surely run for their money.
Luka Doncic is currently in his fifth year in the National Basketball Association and has been the face of the Dallas Mavericks since Dirk Nowitzki left in 2019. He led Dallas to a consecutive playoff success, including the 2022 playoffs where he led Mavericks to thrashed Phoenix Suns. Booked a West final against the reigning Champion Golden State Warriors. Now, he is one of the strong names to win the 2023 NBA MVP, only lagging behind his co-European star in Nikola Jokic.
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