The draw for the 2017 FIBA Under 19 World Championships will be made in early January.
Following the conclusion this week of the FIBA U18 European Championships the 16 qualifying teams are now known and needless to say a bunch of powerhouse teams await the Kiwis in Egypt.
As anticipated defending champions USA won the Americas tournament beating Canada in the final. Defeated semi-finalists Brazil and Puerto Rico also qualify from that region.
The three African qualifiers are Angola, Egypt and Mali – Angola the winners of the African U18 champs for the fourth time.
Perhaps slightly surprising – Iran were the Asian Champions beating Japan 71-65 in the Asia U18 Championship game. Korea was the third qualifier defeating Lebanon 86-63 in the critical 3rd/4th play-off game. China missed out on a return to the World Champs finishing fifth.
We will be seeing more of these nations in age group competition in the future following the merger of the Asia/Oceania regions for FIBA qualifying tournaments.
The European championships, held in Turkey, only finished on Thursday with France beating Lithuania 75-68 in the final. Italy and Germany both qualify having made the semi-finals and the all-important fifth and final spot was clinched by Spain after they downed Bosnia and Herzegovina 77-65.
The strength and depth of the European competition is evidenced by the fact that strong basketball nations Serbia, Greece, Croatia and Turkey all missed out on qualifying for Cairo. All four nations had participated in the 2015 Under 19 World Champs in Crete.
2017 FIBA U19 World Championships Qualifiers.
USA, Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico
France, Lithuania, Italy, Germany, Spain