Brilliant Boomers eye gold as USA crash out
AUSTRALIA have been hurting for the past three years after Spain denied them a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics - now they get their shot at revenge.
The Boomers have booked in a blockbuster semi-final against the Spanish after they continued their unbeaten run at the World Cup with a hard-fought 82-70 win over the Czech Republic.
In a further boost for the Boomers, France - who Australia beat in their previous game - knocked Team USA out of the World Cup with a shock 89-79 win in their quarter-final in Dongguan to leave the race for Cup glory wide open.
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It means the US will now face Serbia in the fifth-place playoff in one of the lowest points in their basketball history.
Australia's impressive triumph, however, means they have qualified for their first semi-final at a World Cup or World Championships.
It's a significant achievement for the Boomers but one that will mean little if they fail to win an elusive medal.
Australia will now receive at least two chances to stand on the dais in Beijing through a final or bronze medal game.
Patty Mills continued his record-breaking scoring run with a game-high 24 points.
Chris Goulding was at his brilliant best from range with 14 points, including four of 10 from beyond the arc.
Andrew Bogut put aside more boos from the Chinese fans to drop 10 points while Jock Landale and Matthew Dellavedova added seven and nine points respectively.
The Boomers will now turn their focus to beating Spain.
Coach Andrej Lemanis says Australia's one-point loss to the Spanish at the '16 Olympics will motivate his charges to keep winning at the World Cup.
Lemanis revealed the players were yelling, "we're not done yet" in the sheds only moments after beating the Czech Republic.
"It is a wonderful group to be with, it's inspiring, but the thing right now is that the job isn't finished for us," Lemanis said.
"We finished fourth at the Olympics and it was a terrible. We've given ourselves an opportunity.
"I don't think it (finishing fourth at Rio) needs to be brought up and spoken about specifically because everyone's aware of it.
"In many ways I think that hurt has driven just the passion and focus for this particular tournament and the commitment to it."
On the back of more Mills brilliance, the Boomers overcame some poor passing to head into quarter-time locked at 17-all.
The veteran Spurs guard had 13 points in the opening term, including three of four from beyond the arc.
Goulding excelled off the bench in the second quarter with five points to help Australia take a slender three-point advantage to half-time.
Both teams traded blows in a tense third quarter but the Boomers kicked thanks largely to Landale, who turned the game with a host of big dunks.
This paved the way for the Australians to open a comfortable 12-point lead before going to the final quarter ahead 63-48.
The Czech Republic went on a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter but the Boomers regrouped to claim a historic victory.