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United States in Group D, Belgium in Group C of FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup

Basketball - Olympics: Day 5 Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

On Tuesday afternoon in Tenerife, Spain, FIBA made the official drawings for the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup:

The Mystics have two players who are expected to play in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman. Let’s break down how the Americans and Belgians expect to fare in this:

Team USA faces a weak slate of teams in Group D

Just so everyone knows, the teams are selected at random from four pots, or relative tiers of each team. These were the pots:

  • Pot 1: United States, Australia, Spain, France
  • Pot 2: Belgium, Turkey, Greece, Latvia
  • Pot 3: Canada, Argentina, Japan, China
  • Pot 4: Puerto Rico, Korea, Nigeria, Senegal

One team from each pot was selected to create each group.

The United States was selected in Group D where they will face Latvia, China, and Senegal. Latvia is making its World Cup debut where it finished 6th place in EuroBasket Women 2017. China was third place in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, while Senegal was the runner up in Women’s AfroBasket. None of these teams are laden with WNBA caliber talent, so barring a stroke of great luck by one of these teams and bad luck by the Americans, they’re winning this group with little to no trouble.

Belgium faces a stronger slate of teams in Group C

With the Americans getting an easier than normal slate of teams in its group, some other group has a more competitive group where someone will almost definitely come home early or face stiffer competition early. That honor, or challenge goes to Group C, where Belgium is.

In their group, Belgium will play Spain, Japan, and Puerto Rico. This group is the strongest top to bottom. Spain won EuroBasket Women 2017 and is the host while Belgium was third place in the same competition. Japan won the 2017 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup while Puerto Rico was the bronze medal winners in the AmeriCup.

Belgium and Japan are considered to be the “darlings of the World Cup” because they have the talent to be a quarterfinalist in the World Cup if not more. It’s also because they’ve “come out of nowhere” to those who don’t follow them closely. It’s kinda strange to see that both teams just happened to be in the same group when it was all said and done.

Is Group C the “Group of Death?”

If only two teams advance from a four team group, then yes, Group B is my pick for “Group of Death.” But third place teams advance to a playoff round before the quarterfinals. Therefore, it’s not like Belgium or Japan will go home early after the group stage. This is assuming they take care of Puerto Rico, who is probably finishing last regardless.

When’s the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup?

September 22-30, 2018 in Tenerife, Spain. The WNBA Finals will end before this. It also means that the regular season will probably start in early to mid May instead of late May.

Where’s Tenerife?

It is the largest of the seven Canary Islands. The Canary Islands are an autonomous community of Spain, but are located southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. In fact. it’s less than 100 miles off the coast of southern Morocco. The largest city is Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

What is Tenerife most famous for?

Tenerife is known for its annual carnivals, among the largest in the world. It’s also home to a volcano, Mount Teide, though it hasn’t erupted since 1909. It’s also a great place to visit to relax at the beach and observe nature. The Canary Islands are a major tourist destination for those reasons.

Unfortunately, Tenerife is also home to the worst airplane crash in history. On March 27, 1977, Tenerife-North Airport (then Los Rodeos) was the site of an airline collision when a KLM Boeing 747 jet tried to take off without clearance and hit a Pan Am Boeing 747 jet that was trying to get to a taxiway. A total of 583 people, mostly Dutch and Americans died. There are memorials in the Netherlands, the United States, and Tenerife in remembrance of it.

I’ll finish this section with something more positive. There are many parks within the island. One of which is the Loro Parque which has a large number of parrots. And because Tenerife at the site of a volcano, there are many scenic views that Team USA and Belgium can see when they aren’t practicing for their next games.

Editor’s Note: The post originally said that Belgium was in Group B. Belgium is in Group C and the piece was edited accordingly.