Wuhan, Aug 30: Russia is going to tip off its 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign on Saturday against Nigeria, with the team captain saying his side is ready for the fight.
“We are ready for the World Cup. And tomorrow we will show our abilities,” said Russian captain Vitaly Fridzon.
In the World Cup qualifiers, Russia grabbed five consecutive victories since September 16 of last year in the European Zone before earning the World Cup ticket.
The European powerhouse lost to its group competitor Argentina in the warm-up game on Monday, but smashed World Cup title contender Spain 74-55 on Wednesday.
“It is a very good game for us, for our confidence. And they are still figuring out who we are,” the Russian coach Sergey Bazarevich said in the post-match press conference.
Russia won a pair of silver medals at the World Cup in 1994 and 1998 but have not been on the podium in the time since, having to settle for 10th in 2002 and 7th in 2010.
The two best teams among Russia, Argentina, Nigeria and South Korea will pass through the stage and keep their hopes alive in the World Cup.
Because South Korea is a little weaker than the other three teams in Group B, the game played on the first match day may affect the final result of the pool. (UNI-Xinhua)