March 16, 2019 / 4:47 PM / 3 months ago

U.S., Turkey paired in basketball World Cup group

The United States will open its defense of its FIBA World Cup championship this summer against the Czech Republic.

Basketball - FIBA World Cup Draw - Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China - Retired NBA player Kobe Bryant draws teams. March 16. 2019 REUTERS/Stringer

The draw for the 32-team tournament was held Saturday in Shenzhen, China.

The United States - the tournament’s top seed - also will face Turkey and Japan in Group E.

The FIBA World Cup will be held Aug. 31 to Sept. 15, with play in eight cities across China. The United States is the two-time defending champion.

The American squad will be coached by Gregg Popovich. He is taking over for Mike Krzyzewski, who led Team USA to three Olympic gold medals. The team has not been selected, but 15 NBA All-Stars are in the player pool.

The second-ranked team, Spain, headlines Group C, and will play Puerto Rico, Iran and Tunisia in pool play. Spain won the World Cup in 2006.

France, the third-ranked team, was placed in Group G with the Dominican Republic, Germany and Jordan.

The United States will play all of its group games in Shanghai. The championship game will be played in Beijing.

Seven nations will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics based on their World Cup finish. Host Japan has an automatic berth, and the four other teams that will compete in the Olympics will earn their way to Tokyo through qualifying tournaments.

—Field Level Media

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