Gasol's Spain future in doubt after shock World Cup loss

Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:43am EDT
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By Tim Hanlon

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spain centre Pau Gasol has doubts about his future with the national team following the hosts' shock quarter-final defeat by France at the basketball World Cup on Wednesday.

The Spaniards, packed with NBA talents and joint favourites with the United States, were expected to reach the final but the contest against France which began with fans in festive spirits ended with calls for coach Juan Antonio Orenga to resign.

The defeat could well mean the end of an era for a successful Spanish side who lifted the 2006 World Cup, bagged silver medals at the last two Olympics and won two of the last three European Championships.

"You never know when it is your last game or your last tournament," Gasol told reporters after the 65-52 loss.

The Chicago Bulls player has been the talisman for the side but he, like several others in the squad, are approaching the end of their illustrious careers.

"I would like to play until I am 50 but I doubt I will. It is an honour to play for my country but you never know...We have great young players coming through and I am sure that we will have a strong side for the future," said the 34-year-old.

"It is a painful defeat. We had big hopes and up until now had been playing very well. The 50 rebounds that they took compared to (Spain's) 28 is a massive difference. They dominated this area and we didn't move the ball around.

"I am proud of the team and my team-mates. It reminds me of Athens 2004 (Olympics) when we won all the games and we lost in the quarter-finals. It is very painful but it is part of sport."   Continued...

Spain's Pau Gasol (L ) challenges for a rebound with France's Boris Diaw during their Basketball World Cup quarter-final game in Madrid September 10, 2014. REUTERS/Juan Medina