The Croatia national basketball team is placed in the fourth-strongest group for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers draw, which will be held on Tuesday, August 31, at the headquarters of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in Mies, Switzerland, starting at noon.
Croatian is in the same group as Montenegro, Latvia, and Ukraine and cannot play these teams in the first round of qualifications. The 2023 World Cup will be hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia from August 25 to September 10, 2023.
Spain, France, Slovenia, and Serbia are in the first strong group of the European part of the qualifications, in which 32 national teams will fight for 12 places leading to the World Cup. The national teams are distributed according to the position on the current FIBA rankings.
The second group includes Italy, Lithuania, Greece, and Germany, and the third includes the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, and Turkey. In the fifth is Finland, Georgia, Belgium, and Hungary, in the sixth is Great Britain, Israel, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, and the Netherlands, in the seventh is Iceland, Estonia, Bulgaria, and Belarus, and in the eighth is Northern Macedonia, Sweden, Portugal, and Slovakia.
Eight groups with four national teams will be drawn, from which the first three will continue the competition in the second round, transferring all the results from the first part. In the second part of the qualifications, by merging three national teams, four new groups of six teams will be created, of which the three best will qualify for the World Cup.
The same qualification method was applied for the 2019 World Cup in China, the first in which 32 national teams competed and Croatia failed to qualify.
In six qualifying cycles, each national team will play 12 matches, six at home and away.
The first qualifying cycle in which each national team will play two matches is from November 22 to 30 this year. Then, two more matches will be played from February 21 to March 1, 2022, and the first round of qualifications will end from June 27 to July 5 next year.
The second part of the qualifiers will start with two games from August 22 to 30, 2022, continue with the second cycle from November 7 to 15, and end in 2023 with the last two games from February 20 to 28.
Croatia played their last big competition in 2017 in the European Championship where they were defeated by Russia in the round of 16. Their next big competition will be EuroBasket 2022, hosted by the Czech Republic, Georgia, Italy, and Germany. Croatia is placed in Group C, which is hosted by Milan, with the national teams of Greece, Ukraine, Great Britain, and Estonia.
Croatia has played in the World Cup three times so far. The generation led by Toni Kukoč and Dino Rađa won a bronze medal in Canada in 1994. At the 2010 World Cup in Turkey, Croatia was defeated by Serbia in the round of 16, and four years later in Spain, Croatia lost to France in the same phase of the competition.
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