Greece, Turkey, Finland and Brazil were awarded the four wild cards by FIBA for 2014 World Cup in today’s central committee meeting in Barcelona.
The four aforementioned nations will now have the right to participate in 2014 World Cup to be held in Spain, with the group draw taking place on Monday. This will mark the final time that FIBA will use the wildcard draw.
“Since 2006, 11 of the 12 teams that have been granted wild cards were always inside the top 24 of the FIBA Ranking Men,” FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann said. “This proves that FIBA’s Central Board is determined to make the FIBA Basketball World Cup as competitive as possible.”
While the inclusion of Greece, Turkey and Brazil is considered by many to be expected, the addition of Finland is a just reward for the nation that made headlines in Slovenia last September.
Finland were knocked out in the second round of Eurobasket but the ‘Wolfpack’ won the hearts of the Slovenian people as 800 fans invaded the seaside town of Koper for the group stages and they saw a Finland side ease through Group D with a 4-1 record, beating fellow wildcard entrants Greece and Turkey, en route, as well as Russia.
Earlier in the week, media outlet El Mundo Deportivo reported that China and Russia had surprisingly pulled out of the race despite being heavily fancied. Russian Basketball President Yulia Anikeeva denied this rumour and stated that Russia were very much in the running.
Both nations were eliminated earlier than anticipated in their respective tournaments with Russia being knocked out of Eurobasket in the group stages and China were dumped out in the quarter-finals of the FIBA Asia tournament to rivals Chinese Taipei.
Italy, another wildcard entrant announced that they would be withdrawing their bid last week.
Other nations to miss out are Canada, Poland, Israel, Germany, Nigeria, Qatar, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Venezuela.
The draw for the World Cup takes place on Monday.