The United States men’s national basketball team is two wins away from their record sixth FIBA Basketball World Cup title, but they will face a tough challenge in the semi-finals against undefeated Germany who has top four finish for the first time since 2002.
The Americans lost their final game of the second group stage to Lithuania, but they bounced back by blowing out Italy in the quarterfinals. Germany, meanwhile, narrowly defeated Latvia in the quarterfinals to remain undefeated.
The semifinals game will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, on 8 September 2023 at 20:45 local time (8:45 ET, 14:45 CET).
Can the USA’s frontcourt contain Germany’s big men? This could be the deciding factor in the game, as Germany has a lot of size in Johannes Voigtmann, Moe Wagner, Daniel Theis, and Johannes Thiemann. The Americans don’t have a lot of depth in the low blocks, as Jaren Jackson Jr. has been struggling with foul trouble and Paolo Banchero, who is teammates with the Wagner brothers in Orlando, has been needed to play a lot of minutes inside. Walker Kessler provides some size for the USA, but he has only played 40 minutes in the tournament.
Key players to watch: Anthony Edwards and Dennis Schroder will be looking to bounce back from subpar performances in their previous games. Edwards had 3 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block in 18 minutes against Italy after scoring 35 points against Lithuania. Schroder scored just 9 points against Latvia on 4-of-26 shooting after averaging 14.3 points per game in the tournament.
X-factors: Germany’s defensive transition will be a key factor in the game. The Americans rely heavily on easy points in transition, scoring 26.0 fast break points per game. Germany, on the other hand, only averages 11.0 fast break points per game. Both teams will also need to stay balanced on defense, as both offenses feature four players who are averaging double figures in scoring.
Another German defensive aspect that will play a major role is their rebounding. Gordie Herbert’s team has grabbed 77.3% of rebounds on their defensive basket, the highest ratio in the World Cup. This will prevent the USA from getting second-chance points, as they allow only 8.0 offensive rebounds per game, the second fewest in the competition.
Stats don’t lie. The USA has a 4-3 record in Semi-Finals knockout games since the system was introduced in 1986. They have won their last two appearances in the top four. Germany, on the other hand, lost their only Semi-Finals game in 2002 before finishing third.
The USA leads the World Cup in steals, averaging 10.0 per game. Germany is fourth at 9.2 steals. The Europeans also commit only 10.2 turnovers per game, the fourth fewest in the tournament. The USA coughs up the ball 14.2 times per game, the eighth most in the World Cup and the worst ratio of any of the Quarter-Finals teams.
USA vs. Germany: Past matchups and player quotes
The USA and Germany have met six times in international basketball, with the Americans winning all six games. The most recent matchup came at the 2008 Olympics, when the USA won 108-91. The USA is also 3-0 against Germany at the World Cup, including an 85-65 victory in the 2006 quarterfinals.
In the build-up to the 2023 World Cup, the USA and Germany met in an exhibition game, with the USA winning 99-91.
Germany guard Dennis Schroder said of the win over Italy: “(The win over Italy) was just a great defensive effort right from the beginning. We put the pressure on and kept the pressure on. The next group came in and did the same thing. It was the best defensive effort of the tournament to this point. That’s what it’s going to take to win two more games.”
Germany guard Franz Wagner said: “We have to show 40 minutes of solid basketball and play as a team. Individual actions will not do it. We have to have a good effort as team. And if we do that we can beat anybody.”
The USA and Germany will meet again in the semifinals of the 2023 World Cup on September 8, 2023.