Groups confirmed for Olympic basketball tournaments at Tokyo 2020

Defending champions United States have been drawn against hosts Japan in the group stages of the women’s basketball tournament at the re-arranged Olympic Games in Tokyo – but they will need to play fewer matches than they did at Rio 2016 to repeat their gold-medal success.

France and Nigeria have been placed in Group B along with Japan and eight-time winners America following today’s draw at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) headquarters, the House of Basketball, in Mies in Switzerland.

Spain, who lost 101-72 to US at Rio 2016, have been drawn in Pool A where they are due to meet Canada, South Korea and Olympic bronze medallists Serbia.

Group C features six-time medallists Australia, China, Puerto Rico and Belgium.

The men’s draw was also completed with reigning champions and 15-time gold medallists America meeting France and Iran in Group A, as well as the team that advances from the qualifying tournament scheduled to take place in Victoria in Canada. 

The winners of the qualifiers in Split in Croatia and Belgrade in Serbia are set to face Australia and Nigeria in Group B.

Argentina, winners of the gold medal at Athens 2004, have been drawn against Japan and Spain in Group C which will also feature the team that comes out on top in the qualification event in Kaunas in Lithuania.

All four qualifying tournaments are due to take place between June 29 and July 4. 

In both tournaments, a new competition system has been put in place in bid to reduce player workload.

Unlike in previous Games, teams will need to play six matches instead of eight to win a medal.

The nations placed first and second in each group, and the two best third-placed teams will progress to the knockout stages.

The men’s tournament is scheduled to run from July 25 to August 7, while the women’s competition is due to be held from July 26 to August 8.

There are doubts over whether the Games in the Japanese capital will go ahead this year due to the global health crisis.

But FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis has backed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 to stage the event due to start in less than six months’ time.

“We are looking forward to enjoying the world’s best basketball players performing this coming July in the capital of Japan,” said Zagklis.

“FIBA is confident for the smooth delivery of the Olympic Basketball Tournaments based on the close partnership with the IOC and the OCOG [Tokyo 2020] as well as on its own, proven operational capacity during the last seven months.

“Last October and November FIBA and its Regional Offices managed to have no less than 114 men’s and women’s national teams travel internationally and play safely in bio-secure hubs, performing approximately 12,000 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests.”

The 12 teams qualified for the women’s event in February last year after four qualifying tournaments were held in Belgium, France and Serbia.

The four men’s Olympic qualifiers were scheduled to be held last year only to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eight teams booked their place at Tokyo 2020 through the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019.

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