Angola defeated Australia on Thursday in the group stage of the FIBA World Cup, but one player believes the outcome was the result of foul play.
Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, who’s playing for Slovenia in the tournament, tweeted after the game that the favored Australians had intentionally engineered a loss.
Basketball is a beautiful sport, there is no room for fixing the game like today Australia vs Angola!! @FIBA should do something about that!—
Goran Dragic (@Goran_Dragic) September 04, 2014
Australia already had qualified for the quarterfinals before taking the court Thursday. The loss dropped its record to 3-2 in group play and improved its chances of finishing third in its group rather than second — thus pushing off a potential meeting with the powerhouse United States until the semifinals.
The team that finishes second in Australia’s group — Group D — almost certainly will meet the U.S. in the quarters.
So, it’s understandable that when Dragic saw the Aussies play their starters sparingly in an eventual 91-83 loss to Angola, he believed the fix was in.
Dragic’s Slovenian squad now holds all the power, however. If Slovenia (4-0 in Group D) defeats Lithuania (3-1) on Thursday, Australia’s loss will be inconsequential. Slovenia would finish first in the group, Australia second and Lithuania third, with either Angola or Mexico drawing the short straw of facing Team USA in the Round of 16.
UPDATE (1:05 p.m.): Mexico defeated South Korea on Thursday to claim the fourth spot, so it’ll be a battle of North American neighbors in the first knockout stage.
Hat tip to For The Win
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images