Basketball: U.S. and Serbia to clash in David and Goliath final

Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:48pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Basketball superpower the United States will face Serbia on Sunday in an Olympic men's basketball David and Goliath gold medal final that will bring down the curtain on the Rio Games.

It will mark the first appearance in the final as an independent nation for Olympic debutants Serbia, but the mighty Americans arrive at the gold medal contest riding a 24-game Olympic winning streak, looking to step on top of the podium for their third straight Summer Games.

"We’ve got one game," said Team USA captain Carmelo Anthony. "That’s what we came here for and we don’t want to leave with anything less than the gold medal."

With an Olympic record of 137-5 and having taken gold in 14 of the 17 Olympics in which they have participated there is no disputing the United States credentials.

However, Serbia also brings a considerable basketball pedigree to Sunday's final.

Part of the former Yugoslavia, which also consisted of Serbia and Montenegro, Serbia beat the United States in the quarter-finals of the 2002 world championships on the way to the gold, and were beaten for a silver by the Americans at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Serbia also took the 2014 World Cup silver medal, having lost out on gold to the United States in the final.

More significantly, Serbia gave the unbeaten United States (7-0) their biggest scare in Rio, battling the Americans right down to the final buzzer in a Group A clash before falling TO 94-91.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Semifinal - Men's Semifinal Spain v USA - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 19/8/2016. Carmelo Anthony (USA) of the USA looks at the ball. REUTERS/Jim Young