The Georgian national basketball team will play in its first World Cup after earning a spot at the tournament on Sunday despite losing to Iceland 80-77 in its final qualifying game.
Thanks to their 88-85 victory over Iceland back in November, the team could afford a loss by three points in the return game of the Group L of the European qualifiers, due to their superior goal difference.
Tied on 15 points with Iceland, the third-placed Georgian team qualified from the group alongside Spain and Italy, who earned the first and second spot respectively with 18 points.
“It was probably the most emotional game I have ever played with the national team. Words cannot describe how I feel right now. We are extremely proud to be in the situation and make our people happy”, Tornike Shengelia, one of the leaders of the national team, said.
“This is the happiest day in my basketball career. I cannot express my feelings. I am very proud of my players, of the team, everybody. We made history today. We qualified for the World Cup, we deserved to qualify”, head coach Ilias Zouros added.
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Government officials met players of the squad to congratulate them on the qualification and wish the team success in the tournament, which will be hosted by Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines later this year.