Host Australia deals challenging draw for FIBA ​​World Cup

CANBERRA, March 3 (Xinhua) — Host Australia have been drawn against Canada, France, Japan, Nigeria and Serbia in the group stage of the 2022 FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup.

The group stage draw for the World Cup, which will be held in Sydney between September 22 and October 1, was conducted on Thursday night local time by Australian Opals great Michele Timms.

Australia, Canada, France and Japan will headline group B at the tournament.

China will play the three-time reigning champion United States, fifth-ranked Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Korea and a sixth team yet to be decided in group A of the 12-team tournament.

Each team will play their group opponents, with the top four teams from each group to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Australia – one of four teams to have ever won the World Cup – is aiming to end the US’s reign of three consecutive titles after losing the final 73-56 in 2018.

However, the third-ranked hosts will face a major challenge to make the quarter-finals having been drawn against Olympic silver and bronze medalists Japan and France and fourth-ranked Canada.

The Opals were beaten by China and Belgium at the Tokyo Olympics following the late withdrawal from the squad of star center Liz Cambage and by Serbia in February.

China, led by star forward Huang Sijing, qualified for the tournament by going undefeated at the qualifying tournament in Serbia in February.

Huang was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of group B at the tournament for averaging 16.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game in wins against Nigeria, Mali and France.

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