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Australia vs Iran
FIBA World Cup qualifier, Round 2. Time: Fulltime.
|Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne|
The Australian Boomers only need one more victory to lock their spot away at the 2019 Basketball World Cup, and their first chance to confirm qualification comes against a physical Iran in Melbourne. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:35pm (AEDT).
Two of Australia’s remaining four games will be played against Iran, and they will be anything but easy as many of their others matches have been.
But, with a record through the qualifiers of seven and one, including that debacle in the Philippines, they are just about home with a spot in the World Cup. From this point, they’d need to lose all their games and have plenty go against them to miss out.
The Boomers have been quality relying on an all-NBL nucleus to drive their charge for qualification and will continue to be so in this one against Iran, who will play a similarly physical style which saw them make the final of the 2017 Asian Cup in Lebanon before losing to the Boomers.
Iran suffered something of a shock loss last time out, falling to Japan. While they were on the road, they were limited to just 56 points and their offence is clearly going to need more creativity to it this time around.
That burden is going to fall with the starting guard combination of Aren Davoudichegani and more importantly, Benham Yakhchalidehkordi.
Their job is made harder by an Aussie defence which, with the exception of their single shock loss in Japan, has been fantastic. They have limited teams all the way and created offence on the back of it, allowing players like Nathan Sobey and Cameron Gliddon to put the gas down heading up court.
They are without some key men for this contest though with Chris Goulding, Damian Martin and Kevin Lisch all missing from the guard rotation, while big man Angus Brandt is also out.
Without the quartet, it brings this game somewhere back to a level playing field, but then, fitness and intensity will catch up with Iran in the second half.
Nowhere in Asia outside of New Zealand do players get the same training and conditioning as those in Australia, and it’s shown right throughout the qualifiers, with Australia generally able to kick away during the fourth quarter whether at home or on the road.
Australia are just going to have too much talent here. They beat Iran at the Asian Cup and will do the same here, but it’s not going to be straightforward, with this likely to be their toughest battle of the entire qualification battle – except when they hit the road to play Iran.
Australia by 10.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the match from 7:35pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Tip-off: 7:35pm (AEDT)
Venue: Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne
Point guard: Mitch Norton
Shooting guard: Cameron Gliddon
Small forward: Todd Blanchfield
Power forward: Matt Hodgson
Centre: Daniel Johnson
Bench: Craig Moller, Nate Jawai, Mitch McCarron, Nick Kay, Jason Cadee, Nathan Sobey
Point guard: Aren Davoudichegani
Shooting guard: Benham Yakhchalidehkordi
Small forward: Mohammad Jamshidijafarabadi
Power forward: Mohammad Hassanzadeh Saberi A.
Centre: Meisam Mirzaeitalarposhti
Bench: Hamed Hosseinzadeh, Rasoul Mozafarivanani, Rouzbeh Arghavan, Mohammad Torabi, Navid Rezaeifar, Amir Sedighi, Keyvan Riaei