Germany holds off U.S. to reach 1st-ever World Cup final

Germany holds off U.S. to reach 1st-ever World Cup final

Germany held off a late surge from the United States, defeating the Stars & Stripes 113-111 to reach the FIBA World Cup final for the first time in its history.

Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner led a balanced German attack, tallying 22 points, five boards, and two assists.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards had 23 points, eight boards, and three assists in a losing cause.

“This team is very worthy of winning a championship. We just didn’t get it done,” Team USA head coach Steve Kerr said postgame, according to Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

After a tight first half, Germany created some distance in the third quarter, outscoring the Americans 35-24. The 11th-ranked nation looked to be on its way to a comfortable victory before the U.S. mounted one last charge.

Team USA went on a 13-2 scoring run to cut the deficit to one with just 1:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, Germany immediately responded with a step-back triple from Andreas Obst.

On the next possession, Isaac Bonga denied U.S. wing Mikal Bridges at the rim. German guard Dennis Schroder subsequently iced the game with a pull-up jumper at the other end.

Germany’s 113 points were the most surrendered by an American team in a FIBA World Cup tournament game, surpassing their previous mark of 110 against Lithuania in this year’s second round, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

“It’s a special group,” Germany bench boss Gordie Herbert told reporters following Friday’s clash, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “The way we played, the way we played together, we stuck together when things got tough and we had players who made some huge plays. One more to go.”

Germany will face Serbia on Sunday in the gold-medal game, while Canada and the U.S. will battle for bronze.

Team USA finished seventh at the previous World Cup in China. They’ve never missed the podium at back-to-back tournaments.

Germany’s best previous result was a third-place finish at the 2002 tournament.

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