The qualifiers for the FIBA World Cup 2023 are all over, and 32 national teams are bound for Jakarta, Indonesia; Tokyo, Japan; and Manila, Philippines from late August to early September.
And if it is not Spain that retains its crown, who exactly will be putting the defending champion to the test? Also, which prominent nations failed to make the cut?
Gilas Pilipinas — ranked 40th in the world (as of Nov. 18, 2022) — was one of the first qualifiers to the world meet, by virtue of being co- hosts. As such, the Filipinos made the most of the six windows to adjust, slowly but surely, to returning coach Chot Reyes and his system, while also parading their enviable options for naturalized player. After going 6-4 in the Asian qualifiers, the first and foremost question for the Philippines is now who among reigning and defending NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson, PBA super import Justin Brownlee, and multi-time UAAP champion Ange Kouame will be backstopping its always-competitive local lineup.
Like the Philippines, co-host country and world no. 38 Japan was also essentially assured of a seat to the world meet. Akatsuki Five utilized the six windows of the Asian qualifiers — where they went 7-5 — to sharpen their saws, as well, and now wait on NBA players Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe to show the way.
Angola registered an 8-2 record in the African qualifiers, and the 41st-ranked national team booked a ticket to the world meet for the sixth straight time.
The team-to-beat in the Asian qualifiers lived up to that billing, losing only once in 12 games of the six windows. The Boomers, ranked third in the world, scored their best-ever finish by making the semifinals of the most recent FIBA World Cup, and are eager to do better behind NBA players Patty Mills, Josh Giddey and Joe Ingles.
Brazil is eyeing its third overall title — and first in 50 years — after going 8-4 in the Americas qualifiers. The world no. 13 Brazilians are one of only two national teams that never missed a world meet.
Canada was the most impressive squad in the Americas qualifiers by far, winning 11 out of its 12 games. NBA All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and rising star RJ Barrett are expected to front the effort for the 15th-ranked national team.
Cape Verde, ranked 66th in the world, will be playing on the big stage and under the bright lights of the world meet for the first time, with much thanks to a 6-3 campaign in the African qualifiers.
The 2019 host is back as a visitor by winding up with a 10-2 standing in the Asian qualifiers. World no. 27 China will yet again lean on Zhou Qi and Guo Ailun for the world meet.
Cote d’ivoire was the first African team to secure a seat in the world meet, and the 43rd-ranked national team ended the continental qualifiers at 8-2.
Dominican Republic, ranked 25th in the world, keep proving to have a national team on the rise after going 9-3 in the Americas qualifiers and advancing to the world meet for the third time in a row.
Egypt didn’t make the cut in the last world meet, but came back with a vengeance with an 8-4 standing in the African qualifiers. The world no. 55 Egyptians hope to start a new streak of appearances this time around.
Finland is present at the world meet after being absent the last time around, the first national team to do so from the European qualifiers, where they scored a 9-3 record. First-time NBA All-Star Lauri Markkanen will show the way for the 24th-ranked Wolfpack.
France, ranked fifth in the world, bagged back-to-back bronze medals in the last two FIBA World Cups. Following their 10-2 campaign in the European qualifiers, all attention for Les Bleus now turns to debuting Victor Wembanyama and possible naturalized player Joel Embiid.
World no. 32 Georgia will be playing in the world meet for the first time on the back of a just-enough 5-5 record in the European qualifiers.
Germany — hopefully led by NBA players Dennis Schroder and Franz Wagner — is determined to bounce back from their 18th-place performance in the most recent world meet. The 11th-ranked Germans already took the first step in doing so by going 10-2 in the European qualifiers.
Make it five in a row in the FIBA World Cup for Greece, ranked 9th in the world, which wound up with a 6-4 record in the European qualifiers. Of course, it’s no coincidence that streak coincided with the stardom of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
World No. 20 Iran continues to stand as a pillar in world basketball, even as they went 6-6 in the Asian qualifiers.
Italy is playing on the world meet for the second straight time following an 8-2 showing in the European qualifiers. The 10th-ranked Azzurri will feature Simone Fontecchio and Nicolo Melli, as they try to stand on the podium for the first time.
Fresh off a thrilling triumph over Philippines and a 6-4 finish in the Asian Qualifiers, Jordan, ranked 34th in the world, is also eyeing a breakthrough in the FIBA World Cup.
Latvia may have missed the FIBA EuroBasket 2022, but the world no. 29 national team bounced back big-time with a 9-1 run in the European qualifiers. Thanks to that, the Latvians advanced to the FIBA World Cup for the first time.
Lebanon finally puts an end to a 13-year absence in the world meet. A 7-3 record in the Asian qualifiers for the 42nd-ranked Cedars was more than enough for that.
Lithuania, ranked 8th in the world, has emerged as a mainstay on the world meet, and a 9-3 standing in the European qualifiers did little to change that.
Mexico is back and better than ever in the world meet, courtesy of an 8-4 performance in the Americas qualifiers. The world no. 31 national team will be spearheaded by NBA champion Juan Toscano-Anderson.
With back-to-back tickets to the world meet, this time thanks to a 7-5 record in the European qualifiers, 18th-ranked Montenegro is, most definitely, on the rise.
New Zealand powered through to an 8-2 performance in the Asian qualifiers all the way to a sixth straight berth in the world meet. The Tall Blacks, ranked 26th in the world, have their sights set on repeating — or even bettering — their fourth-place finish in 2002.
Puerto Rico is far from a pushover in terms of basketball, going 8-4 in the Americas qualifiers and getting their 10th world meet seat in a row. The world No. 21 Puerto Ricans hope for a return to the semifinals, where they last played in 1990.
Serbia had to wait until the last game of the European qualifiers — and all qualifiers, overall — to register a 6-4 record and reach the world meet once more. There, they’re assumed to have reigning and defending two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic at the forefront.
Slovenia used an absence to the last world meet as fuel en route to a 7-5 drive in the European qualifiers — more than good enough for a return to the FIBA World Cup, where the Slovenians, ranked seventh in the world, will be waiting on Luka Doncic to show the way.
South Sudan, one of the youngest federations but already world no. 63, will be debuting in the FIBA World Cup thanks to an impressive 11-1 run in the African qualifiers.
Defending champion and top-ranked (yes, they nudged ahead of longtime no. 1 United States) Spain went 8-2 in the qualifiers, but is expected to go full throttle for the world meet behind veterans Ricky Rubio and Hernangomez brothers Willy and Juancho, as well as young talents Santi Aldama and Usman Guruba.
Did you know the United States has seen action in all FIBA World Cups. That continues, even as Team USA lost three times in 12 games in the Americas qualifiers. No roster spot has been guaranteed yet for the second-ranked national team, but it has an enviable crop to choose from, as always.
World No. 17 Venezuela rode an 8-4 run in the Americas Qualifiers to secure a seat to the world meet for the second straight time.
And who’s out for FIBA World Cup 2023?
Indonesia, ranked 81st in the world, is a co-host country, but will not send a squad to the World Cup as it failed to reach the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 quarterfinals or Asian qualifiers second round.
World No. 4 Argentina will be out of the world meet for the first time since 1982, no thanks to an 8-4 run in the Americas qualifiers.
Philippines’ rivals South Korea will not be playing in the world meet, as its forfeiture of the Asian Qualifiers first window due to COVID-19 led to a disqualification. The Koreans appealed, but were denied in early 2022.
Other notable teams who didn’t make the cut: Czech Republic (world No. 12), Poland (world No. 14), Turkey (world No. 16), Nigeria (world No. 19), Tunisia (world No. 22), Senegal (world No. 37), Russia.