The eighth finals of the U19 World Championships threw up a few surprises as the nations to contest the quarter-finals were locked. The biggest shock came as Australia downed Serbia to reach the last eight, joining tournament hosts Greece in the next round. Team USA also flew into the final eight with a big win over Argentina, while Italy, Spain, Croatia, Canada, and Turkey also progressed.
Greece has been hot in Heraklion so far, the players looking comfortable with home advantage as hosts of the U19 World Championships. In the Round of 16 they crushed Tunisia 100-48 on the back of a stunning performance from Tyler Dorsey, who claimed 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Like Greece, Spain was also expected to reach the quarter-finals and the European team did not fail, although they did disappoint with a narrow 60-67 win over Egypt. Spain looked comfortable with a 37-56 lead through thirty minutes, but Egypt rallied in the fourth to make it a nervy finish.
Greece will play Spain in the Quarter finals
Team USA has rarely looked out of second gear in the tournament so far and the Round of 16 provided another easy game for the players. The U.S. contingent demolished Argentina 93-45, with Harry Giles the pick of the players with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds. The USA dominated an out of sorts Argentina from the start and cruised to victory. Italy faces the daunting prospect of playing the defending champions in the next round, but the Azzurri will have confidence after passing a tricky Dominican Republic team 82-73. The Dominicans once again looked solid, but a 28 point haul in the third act helped Italy to a 16 point lead heading into Q4, and from there the Europeans never looked back.
USA will play Italy in the quarter finals
The shock of the round and arguably the U19 World Championships came as Australia defeated Serbia to reach the next stage. The Serbians have finished runner-up in the last two tournaments and were expected to challenge again, but Australia defeated the European country 69-56. Jack McVeigh was big in the win with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds. The Aussies dominated the first half and carried a 14 point lead into the long break, giving Serbia too much to do through the rest of the game. After a beating in the last round, Iran improved to provide Turkey with a test, but ultimately the Turks remained undefeated with a 63-73 win. After losing the opening stanza, Turkey responded with a 20-8 run in the second period and went bit in the fourth act (26 points) to ensure progression.
Turkey will play Australia in the quarter finals
Croatia has been gaining momentum after losing its opening game to the USA, the European country defeated a solid China team 75-68 to continue its progress. After a blazing first half from Croatia, China rallied to make it a six point game through thirty minutes, but the Croats went up a gear in the fourth and grabbed the win. Ivica Zubac paced the winners with 23 points and 9 rebounds. South Korea has been the cannon fodder this competition and the country provided a target for Canada in the Round of 16. The Canadians duly obliged with a 100-64 win in which they controlled the hardwood throughout.
Canada will play Croatia in the quarter finals