Not only the new World Champion Spain looks impatiently against the Olympic tournament 2020 in Tokyo – above all the USA wants to rehabilitate itself.
Next time, Pau Gasol wants to play again. "If my health permits, I would of course like to be with the team again and fight with it," said the Spanish basketball player to the radio station Cope said after the Sunday ended in China World Cup. The missed the 39-year-old center because of a foot injury, but that at this age, in principle, still at the highest level can be involved, as the same-age Argentinian Luis Scola has shown that even brought his team in the final of Beijing. But the South Americans lost 75:95 to the Spaniards captained by Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio, and that title win made Pau Gasol seemingly ready to be back at the next opportunity.
The next opportunity is at Olympia 2020 in Tokyo; for Pau, the older of the Gasol brothers, it would be the fourth participation in the games, for Marc, the younger, after all, the third: Three years ago in Rio, it was the 34-year-old, who had to pass injured. If you look at Pau Gasol's Olympic balance, you know what drives him to continue, the two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and three-time European champion with Spain: 2008 in Beijing he took silver, 2012 in London also, 2016 in Rio gave it is bronze. Each time, Gasol and his Spaniards had failed in the USA, always a bit scarce, 107: 118 in the final of Beijing, 100: 107 in the London, 76:82 in the semi-finals of Rio. And judging by the impressions of this World Cup, the Americans, Olympic champions of 2008, 2012 and 2016, are due next year.
The US team had also traveled to China as defending champion and had then brought home the worst World Cup placement for the motherland of basketball. Pau Gasol's former team-mate Kobe Bryant, one of the gold winners of 2008, commented on the weekend: "It's not that the rest of the world is catching up with the US – that's a long time ago – we're at a point where the US is sometimes wins and sometimes loses. "
Anyway, head coach Gregg Popovich did not accept that the best players in the USA had been missing for a number of reasons. "There are great teams and great coaches all over the world these days, so it should come as no surprise," he said, earning a profit warning for home-grown fans at home: "It's not set in stone that the US is just going to a championship needs. "
Because the high-paid American NBA professionals can pull themselves more to service for the homeland, when it comes to Olympic honors, they still expect in the US, however, that next year a better-staffed team in Tokyo participates. But even then "it will not be a walk", warns Kobe Bryant: "No matter what that team will be – it will not be easy."
There will be an interesting tournament in Tokyo next summer. The Spaniards, now twice European and three European champions, want to finally win Olympic gold, the Americans want to rehabilitate, the fifth-placed Serbs also, who arrived as Olympic, World Cup and European Championship champion and for many experts even title favorite number one had been. The defeated World Cup finalist Argentina continues to strive upwards with a young team in which, apart from Luis Scola, none was over 30; the second time as a World Cup third-placed French push forward, as well as the Australians who finally want a medal, after they were no better than fourth in their 26th overall Olympic and World Cup participation.
There will be a bang and sting in Tokyo, a dribble and a dusk, a throw and block at its best.
Whether or not the German basketball players will be allowed to play in the process will become clear next June with European champions Slovenia and other major basketball powers such as Croatia, Greece, Russia, Lithuania, Italy and Turkey through the last qualifying mill for Tokyo. After the disappointing 18th place at the World Cup in China, national coach Henrik Rödl and his selection want to at least rehabilitate a bit. "We all have a huge desire to show that we can really tear something," Rödl said on Sunday during the final transfer magenta Sports: "It gnaws that it takes so long."