Argentina vs. Spain in the World Cup final might be a matchup you would expect in soccer, but on Sunday they’ll compete for the crown in basketball at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Led by former NBA veteran Luis Scola, Argentina has made a Cinderella run to the final by taking down Serbia and France in the knockout stage. They are the first country to reach a World Cup final without an active NBA player this century.
As for Spain, they took down Poland and Australia to reach the final, the latter victory coming in a double-overtime thriller. Reigning NBA champion Marc Gasol was the hero in that semifinal win, and is looking to add another title this summer.
How to watch Argentina vs. Spain
- Date: Sunday, Sept. 15
- Time: 7 a.m. ET
- Location: Wukesong Arena — Beijing, China
- Streaming: ESPN+
- TV: ESPN 2
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Odds: Spain -4.5
Argentina: With many key members of their “Golden Generation” — Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni and Fabricio Oberto — all retired from international competition, expectations weren’t high for Argentina as they made their way to China. But they still have Luis Scola, and the veteran big man has keyed one more run for his country. He was spectacular in their semifinal win over France, pouring in 28 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. They’ll need him playing like that again on Sunday against a Spanish side led by Marc Gasol.
Spain: After winning their first World Cup title in 2006, Spain failed to reach the semis in either of the past two tournaments. Now, they’re back in the final, and have a good chance to capture their second crown. They only just got to this game, however, needing two overtimes to dispatch Australia. Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol have led the way throughout the tournament, and they should have some fantastic matchups in the final going against Facundo Campazzo and Scola.
Game prediction, pick
Spain are slight favorites in this game, and on paper have the more talented side, but this just feels like Argentina’s tournament to win. Their run has been spectacular and they have a hard-working squad that really knows how to play together.
Pick: Argentina 87, Spain 81