Spain and the United States will meet this summer in an exhibition game in Spain
2/16/2010 USA Basketball and the Spanish Basketball Federation announced last Friday that men’s world basketball powers United States and Spain will meet in an August exhibition game in Spain in preparation for the 2010 FIBA World Championship that is being held August 28-Sept. 12 in Turkey. Specifics on the exhibition game will be announced at a later date.
The game will be a rematch of the memorable 2008 Olympic gold medal game the USA won 118-107.
“I’m sure this will be an exciting and memorable game for all basketball fans. Spain’s record and accomplishments in international competitions, especially over the last several years, speaks for itself and the USA-Spain rivalry has developed into something special because of outstanding basketball games that have been played between the two teams, especially the gold medal game at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Our training in Spain and the exhibition game will be a critical period in helping our newly formed team be better prepared for the 2010 World Championship”, said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“We couldn’t face a better opponent than Spain as we prepare our team for the 2010 World Championship. Spain is a team we have great respect for and they’ll be among the favorites to again win the World Championship. They were an outstanding team in 2006 when they captured the FIBA World Championship and they were again excellent in the 2008 Olympics”, said USA Basketball Chairman and Managing Director of the national team program, Jerry Colangelo.
“As is evident by the five Spanish players currently playing for NBA teams and their other talented players involved with professional teams in the EuroLeague, Spain is a team that is deep and very talented. They have played together for several years which helps makes them an excellent basketball team”.
José Luis Sáez, President of the Spanish Basketball Federation, expressed satisfaction after reaching an agreement with the United States that “will allow Spain to host a game that is the best possible event in basketball right now. We will be proud to welcome a team that is considered to be the best in the world; a rival on the court but a great friend off the court”.
Spanish National Team head coach Sergio Scariolo declared that “the game against the United States will close our preparation stage for Turkey´s World Championship. For obvious reasons it´s impossible to find a stronger and more prestigious rival. The result won´t be significant but the fans will enjoy a spectacular evening full of great basketball; an exhibition game with such good players that it´s almost impossible to find a game like this between international teams”.
“Facing the U.S. again is a privilege”, said Ricky Rubio, starting point-guard of the Spanish National Team in the final game of the Beijing Olympics. “I had the opportunity to play the final game in Beijing in 2008; it was a great performance from both teams, who played at their highest level. I´m eager to repeat, I don´t mind if it´s an exhibition game”.
Rubio, the youngest player to ever win an Olympic medal in basketball, added that “it will be an extraordinary game in order to measure our basketball shape before the World Championship in Turkey. To play against the U.S. is always an honour and a great chance to learn from the best players. It will be a great show, the kind that turns a person into a basketball fan”.
“Hosting a game of this magnitude will put our country in the spotlight of the basketball world”, said Jaime Lissavetzky, Spain´s Secretary of State for Sports. “A game that involves the world´s two best teams is a top-notch sport event, but above all it´s an event that will reach beyond the court, an event that will be enjoyed before and after the game itself. This game is a reaffirmation of the excellent shape of the world of sports in Spain, where basketball clearly stands out”.
The USA-Spain exhibition will be the first matchup between the two powers since the 2008 Olympic gold medal game that has been described as one of the greatest international games ever played. The USA fought off a determined Spain squad 118-107 to earn gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Two years earlier, while the U.S. finished third at the 2006 FIBA World Championship after being stopped by Greece (101-95) in the semifinals, the Spaniards rolled over Greece 70-47 to claim World Championship title.