Australia had a big opportunity to seal its spot in the next stage of the FIBA World Cup against a Germany team without Orlando Magic star Franz Wagner.
Instead, another slow start finally came back to haunt the Boomers and now they prepare for a must-win clash against Japan that could be far more challenging than it appears on paper.
Japan rallied late against Finland, drawing off the energy of their home crowd to storm to a 98-88 victory. It means the winner of Tuesday’s game will finish second in Group E.
Beyond the World Cup, Australia must also win on Tuesday or risk missing out on automatic qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The highest finisher between Australia and New Zealand at this year’s World Cup will earn the spot, with the loser having to fight their way through a qualification tournament.
While Australia’s roster is more talented on the surface, the…