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FIBA U17 World Championship for Men draw throws up intriguing groups

Wednesday’s draw for the U17 World Championship for Men resulted in two very interesting groups.

Group A will see several clashes of titans with basketball powerhouses USA, Serbia, Lithuania and Argentina topping the bill.

China and Egypt shouldn’t be overlooked either, having deservedly booked their places for the tournament by triumphing in their respective U16 Continental Championships last year.

“Our group is very difficult because it has three or four continental champions,” said Serbia head coach Nenad Trunic. “We want to try our best and play as good as we can.”

Meanwhile Group B, which consists of Australia, Canada, hosts Germany, Korea, Poland and Spain, looks to be wide open.

“This group will be difficult to predict,” Spain head coach Diego Ocampo told FIBA. “I think the teams are all on the same level. There is no team that is higher than another.”

Spain won the gold medal at last summer’s U16 European Championship for Men after beating hosts Lithuania in Kaunas and would like nothing better than to follow up that memorable success by being crowned the U17 world champions.

However, Ocampo is calling for caution and resisting the temptation of looking too far down the road.

“Every team will be focused on the first game they have to play,” he explained. “That’s the best way to approach these tournaments. Take it step by step.

“It will get very difficult for the teams (from Group B) that reach the quarter-finals because the level is a bit higher in Group A. Whatever team you play from that group, it will be a very tough game.”

Meanwhile, hosts Germany welcomed the fact of being drawn in Group B, but weren’t willing to make any predictions just yet.

“We are satisfied with the draw. It is very difficult to say how the teams will perform in July,” said head coach Frank Menz.

The tournament will take place in Hamburg, Germany from 2nd to 11th July.

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