Host country Spain will begin their campaign in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup against FIBA Asia champions Iran in the final game of day 1 in Group A.
The Spaniards will again be counting on top to bottom formidable lineup that already boasts the three-headed front court of Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Then on the point guard slot, you have Jose Calderon and Ricky Rubio alternating on distributing the ball. The wingman position is not shy either with Juan Carlos Navarro, Rudy Fernandez and Victor Clavier all raring to provide the scoring at all fronts.
The Iran team while unblemished in the FIBA Asia run will have a hard time containing a team projected to finish all the way to the final game. Yet, the presence of NBA veteran Hamed Haddadi and other improving cagers such as Asghar Kardoust, Mohammad Jamshidi, Rouzbeh Arghavan, Aren Davoudi and Oshin Sahakian will try to keep the gap as close as possible.
While the Iranians used their bulk and height during against their Asian neighbors they will be hard pressed to employ the same tactics against a formidable Spanish squad. Coach Mehmed Becirovic will have his hands full trying to contain a high-post game between the Gasol brothers and if he can keep the game close would be a great feat in itself.
Expect Spain to use the group stages to hone their strategy and scout other teams as they are also bracketed with other favorites such as France, Serbia and Brazil. Projected to reach the finals and even upset the weakened USA lineup, a win by Iran would be a momentous upset.
Projected Starting Lineups:
Ricky Rubio (Guard)
Juan Carlos Navarro (Guard)
Rudy Fernandez (Forward)
Pau Gasol (Forward)
Marc Gasol (Center)
Mahdi Kamrani (Guard)
Hamed Afagh (Guard)
Samad Nikkhah Bahrami (Forward)
Oshin Sahakian (Forward)
Hamed Haddadi (Center)
Watch the highlights of the Spain's loss to Greece during last year's Eurobasket
(Video Courtesy of: Youtube/FIBA EuropeTV)
Watch the highlights of the Iran's championship win over the Philippines in FIBA Asia
(Video Courtesy of: Youtube/jashphersupervideo)
You can watch the Iran vs. Spain live streaming via ESPN.