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Argentina misses basketball World Cup for first time since 1982

Basketball powerhouse Argentina will miss this year’s FIBA World Cup for the first time since 1982 after they lost 79-75 to the Dominican Republic in qualifying on Sunday.

The Dominican Republic won despite trailing by 17 points 12 minutes from the end in the Argentinian city of Mar del Plata.

Argentina, who were able to call on star players from the European leagues including Real Madrid forward Gabriel Deck, finished fourth in their group behind the Dominicans, Canada and Venezuela.

It is a huge setback for a country that finished runners-up to Spain in the last World Cup four years ago and has qualified for the last nine editions.

“We didn’t play well. We were off-target in attack, we had too many holes in defence and we didn’t shut down their key players. We really screwed up,” said Argentina captain Facundo Campazzo.

In African qualifying, tiny Cape Verde and their 7ft 3ins (2.20m) centre Walter Tavares of Real Madrid, booked their ticket to the finals by beating Ivory Coast 79-64.

In Europe, Georgia secured qualification for the first time despite losing 80-77 at home to Iceland.

Belgium and Serbia are battling for the 32nd and final qualifying place.

The finals will take place in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia from August 25 to September 10.

While the Philippines and Japan have automatically qualified as host nations, Indonesia will sit out the finals because they failed to reach FIBA’s criteria of reaching the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup.

Countries qualified

Africa: Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Angola, South Sudan, Egypt

Asia: Philippines*, Japan*, Iran, New Zealand, Australia, Lebanon, Jordan, China

Americas: USA, Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela

Europe: Finland, Lithuania, Germany, Greece, Slovenia, France, Lithuania, Spain, Italy, Georgia, Montenegro

*Qualified automatically as host nations

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