Australia continue the defence of their FIBA Asia Cup crown when they take on Japan in the quarter-finals on Thursday at 11:30am (UK time).
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It’s been five years since Australia beat Iran 79-56 to win their first ever FIBA Asia Cup crown, in what was their first appearance in the final. The Boomers have been in solid form in the tournament too, including two wins and one defeat to finish top of their qualifying group on head-to-head results. It has been more plain sailing in the tournament proper, with Australia winning all three of their preliminary round matches, starting with a 78-60 win over Jordan. They then beat Saudi Arabia 76-52 and finally Indonesia 78-53 to go straight into the quarter-finals.
Japan, meanwhile, will be looking to end a 51-year wait for success in the FIBA Asia Cup having last lifted the trophy in 1971 – their second glory in six years when the tournament was biannual. Since that 1971 win, Japan have been losing finalists four times but haven’t reached the final since 1997. Like Australia, Japan won two of their games in qualifying to finish second in their group, with two defeats. There was another second-placed finish in the preliminary round too, as Japan won two and lost one of their three matches, starting with wins over Kazakhstan (100-68) and Syria (117-56) before losing the group decider to Iran 88-76. It was fairy comfortable for Japan in the playoffs to set up this tie, as they beat Philippines 102-81.
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