Can the Boomers continue their impressive Cup run?
Can the Boomers continue their impressive Cup run?

Upsets, history keep Boomers on their toes

THE Boomers must not forget that a Czech Republic team with the "fight of a lion" are on a historic World Cup run of their own when they meet in Wednesday's quarter-finals.

The unbeaten Boomers (5-0) are in the midst of an unprecedented Cup charge and will enter Shanghai's final-eight duel as heavy favourites.

A win would create history, sending Australia to a Cup semi-final - against modern rivals Spain - for the first time and edge them within one victory of a maiden major tournament medal.

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The world No.11's gutsy winning streak has stirred interest back in Australia, especially now they will avoid tournament favourites United States until the gold medal game.


But any suggestion that Wednesday's outcome against the world No.24 is a formality would be ignoring other results, and what's at play for a team in their first Cup as a republic.

Their last World Cup outing came in 1982, well before Czechoslovakia was split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

Patty Mills has been a leading light for the Boomers.
Patty Mills has been a leading light for the Boomers.

"I'm speechless; every game they come and they show more and more and more effort," long-time Israeli-born coach Ronen Ginzburg said.

"This national team over the years, it fights like a lion and that's what they're doing.

"I'm proud for my players, I'm speechless."

Ginzburg's plucky side have reached the final eight with a 3-2 record, losing to both the United States and Greece, behind new Chicago Bulls playmaker Tomas Satoransky.

But they thumped an impressive Brazil by 22 points, while Argentina's 97-87 upset of Serbia in Tuesday's first quarter-final shows how unpredictable FIBA basketball can be.

There were nervous moments for Spain, too, as Poland, in their first Cup start since 1967, pushed the team that cruelled Australia's hopes of an Olympic podium in a one-point bronze medal win in Rio three years ago.

Tomas Satoransky is sure to pose big problems for the Boomers.
Tomas Satoransky is sure to pose big problems for the Boomers.

Spain finished 90-78 victors but it took some clutch shooting from new Phoenix Suns guard Ricky Rubio (19 points, nine assists, five rebounds) to see them home.

For the same reason the talented France, pipped by Australia earlier this week, will give themselves a chance in Wednesday's other quarter-final against two-time defending champions the United States.

While unbeaten, Australia have lumbered through wins against Senegal and the Dominican Republic after more clinical defeats of Canada, Lithuania and France. It hasn't gone unnoticed by Lemanis, who has challenged his side to stay up for the knock-out clash.

"The pattern so far has been good games then taking the foot off the gas a bit," he said.

"It's important we bring the same intent mentally."