2016 Olympic Games: Semifinal Preview

2016 Olympic GamesWe are at the Semifinal stage of the 2016 Olympic Games, and four nations remain in the hunt for Basketball gold. After an excellent quarterfinals round, all remaining teams will now see the chance to go all the way. Australia and Spain are in fantastic form, but Spain must face the elephant in the room. Team USA, unflattering at times this competition is still the team to beat and the Spanish must bring their A game.

Australia may feel that their path to the final is now clear. The team tackled the US in groups and would not have to do so again until the finale. Serbia lies in wait of the Aussies. The Europeans are the tournament dark horse and could yet extend its 2016 Olympic Games run in a shock semifinal win.

Spain vs. USA

As we have said before, Spain is now the form team of the tournament. After an underwhelming start to the competition, the nation had lost two consecutive games. People were laughing at the Spanish challenge, but soon the country was to be taken seriously. The Iberians have exploded over the last five games, reeling off consecutive wins in commanding fashion.

On the evidence so far, Spain could cause the USA trouble. The tournament favorites and current gold medal champs are unbeaten but have been far from convincing in Rio over the last week. However, the team has overcome tricky tests from Australia and France and in the quarterfinal against Argentina seemed to be finding its customary fluid play.

Simply put, there is never a good time to play Team USA, but Spain’s form is certainly interesting ahead of this clash. However, the Europeans will have to overcome two huge factors. First, it has lost the last two Olympic (Beijing and London) to the USA, the players will remember and will either be spurred on or will wilt. Secondly, the USA is the dominant global force with 14 Olympic titles, the mental hurdle of making history could be exhausting for Spain if the game gets gritty.

Australia vs. Spain

Spain’s form has been impressive, but the Boomers of Australia have also tasted some excellent play this week. The only blemish on the nation’s record has been a narrow defeat to the USA. In that game the team from down under would have taken encouragement. If the two meet again in the final, Australia will feel it has a chance. Certainly, the draw against Serbia has been favorable for the country.

Speaking of Serbia, the team is arguably the dark horse of the competition. Of the remaining nations, Serbia is the most unlikely to push for gold. However, the Europeans have something special in terms of team spirits and willingness to fight. That was evidenced in the late and narrow 83-86 over Croatia in the previous round.

This is knock-out hoops, anything can happen. Australia is favorite, but Serbia is very capable of a surprise and reaching the final.

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