Turkey will play their opening game of the FIBA World Cup against Japan at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.
These two sides are in Group E, which also contains the best team in the world, which is the USA. It is expected that they will clinch the first spot in the group, which leaves just one place open for the other three teams. The Czech Republic is the other country in the group other than Turkey and Japan. Turkey are ranked 17th in the world, followed by the Czech in 24th place. Japan are the lowest ranked team as they are 48th in the world.
Turkey’s best finish at the FIBA World Cup came in 2010. They went all the way to the final where the USA beat them 81-64. Despite the loss, it was an excellent accomplishment for Turkey. The squad for the World Cup has a nice blend of youth and experience for Turkey. Along with veterans like Ersan Ilyasova, young upcoming players like Cedi Osman will also defend the national colors.
Ilyasova was a part of the team which lost the final in 2010, and he knows that it will be tough to replicate that run this time. “The race for the second round is going to be intense, and also the one to get to the quarter-finals and the semis, too,” he said. “A lot of teams can fight for a medal. We’re going to use all of our energy to go to China and have a great run.” Turkey finished second in their qualifying group behind Spain to make the tournament.
On the other hand, Japan are taking part in a World Cup after 13 years. They have failed to qualify for the last two editions. Japan played the 2006 edition as they were the ones who hosted it. However, they impressed in the qualifying phase. In the qualifying second round, Japan won 8 out of their 12 games to make the World Cup.
Rui Hachimura will be one of the biggest names on Japan’s squad in China. He was a significant factor in the qualifying games for Japan. Hachimura propelled Gonzaga University to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division 1 Tournament this year as well. The Washington Wizards then drafted him in the 2019 NBA Draft as the ninth pick. At just 21 years old, he has grown leaps and bounds in the last year.
He is the first Asian to be drafted in the top 10 since 2007. “I feel great, so great,” he said recently. “Going to play in the FIBA World Cup with my country is such a fantastic opportunity, and I am looking forward to it.”
Turkey vs Japan Prediction
Turkey will go into the game as favorites to get the opening win. They should score over 70 points in the game. As for Japan, they will find it tough against an experienced Turkey side. The point differential for Turkey should be more than 10 points, and it will be an easy win.