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Latvia beats Lithuania in Baltic basketball battle

Latvia rounded off a memorable FIBA basketball World Cup campaign September 9 with victory over neighbors Lithuania to seal an excellent fifth-place finish in the tournament.

Latvia emerged on the right side of a convincing 98:63 scoreline in a powerful display that only underlined how exceptionally they have played throughout the tournament, and will have many people still wondering if they might have gone all the way if only that last-gasp effort against World Cup finalists Germany had found the hoop in the quarter-finals.

Powerhouses Spain, France, Italy, Brazil and Lithuania, plus Lebanon, were all defeated by Latvia at their first-ever World Cup, while the only defeats were to Canada and Germany, both of whom made the last four. The final of the tournament, between Germany and Serbia, takes place Sunday – but it will do well to top the atmosphere during the Baltic clash.

Fifth place over all represents an amazing result for a team that started the tournament ranked 29th in the world. 

A heroes' welcome is planned for the team and backroom staff Monday afternoon in Rīga. 


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