'Special' Germany stun US to reach final

Germany's Dennis Schroder celebrates during the Fiba Basketball World Cup semi-finals match between USA and Germany in Manila. PHOTO/AFP

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The Germans are unbeaten at the World Cup and had given the US a huge fright before going down to a narrow loss in a pre-tournament warm-up game in Abu Dhabi.

Germany head coach Gordon Herbert hailed his "special group" of players after they stunned the United States on Friday to reach the Basketball World Cup final.

Germany stood toe-to-toe with their celebrated American opponents for the full game in Manila and emerged with a 113-111 win to advance to a final showdown with Serbia on Sunday.

The Germans are unbeaten at the World Cup and had given the US a huge fright before going down to a narrow loss in a pre-tournament warm-up game in Abu Dhabi.

They got the job done when it really counted, though, and Herbert said they were "not where we want to be yet".

"This group of players wants to win gold," he said.

"One more to go. We'll let the players enjoy this tonight and tomorrow morning when we wake up, this is over.

"We've moved on, we're getting ready for Sunday."

Andreas Obst, who was a constant thorn in the Americans' side, finished as Germany's top scorer with 24 points.

Franz Wagner with 22 points and Daniel Theis with 21 also made huge contributions.

Germany finished third at last year's EuroBasket championship and Wagner said they were determined not to let another chance "slip away".

"We had a big goal coming in and we're one win away," said Wagner, who plays for Orlando Magic in the NBA.

"From the first day we got together in the summer, we believed that we're a special group and we can win against any team."

Chance for history

Things started to go wrong for the United States in the third quarter when Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson both made simple mistakes to hand Germany a six-point lead.

Germany built on the advantage and Dennis Schroder nailed a shot to put his team 94-84 ahead at the end of the third quarter.

Germany kept their discipline to see out the win with the Americans pushing hard in the fourth quarter.

"It's a special group," said Herbert.

"The way we played, we stuck together at different times when things got tough. We had players who made some huge plays."

The result means the United States will miss the final for the second straight tournament, after finishing seventh in China in 2019.

It was their second defeat of the tournament, having lost to Lithuania in the second round.

The US struggled to deal with shooting guard Obst, who plays for Bayern Munich in Germany's domestic league.

Herbert said Obst "creates space" for his team-mates to play in.

"Andy is one of the best shooters in FIBA," said Herbert.

"He can do more than shoot, as you saw tonight. He can drive, he can make a play.

"He had a huge game tonight."

Germany will be making their first final appearance and will face Serbia, who beat Canada in the day's first semi-final.

Germany centre Johannes Voigtmann said his team had a "chance to do something historic".

"We're going to do everything from tomorrow on to prepare mentally for this game, because this is the most important one we have to win," he said.