The FIBA World Basketball Championships are on at the moment in Japan. I would have loved to see Australia play, but since: their group games were in Shizuoka, a long way away; I don't know half the players any more, and the ones I do (Mackinnon, Smith) should be on no country's national team; and in the end they only barely scraped through to the playoffs and were embarrassed by the admittedly strong US team (this for a team ranked 9th in the world)... I decided it was best to watch from home. Unfortunately Japan has made no efforts to televise the games, apart from a few matches where the national (and home) team was thrashed by various low-ranking countries, and so I have to rely on Minato's illegal SkyPerfect satellite hookup and Kayo's temperamental VCR to get anything. I did see enough to disown the Aussie national team, though. No, that's harsh. Maybe.
Anyway. It's down to 6 at the moment, with Spain and Argentina through to the semis thanks to Gasol and Ginobili et al, and Greece-France / USA-Germany on today, which I will tune in to. Germany has been impressive - or should I say, Nowitzki has been awesome. You could see him trying to get the team involved in the earlier rounds, but now it's in the clutch, he's drilling last-second threes and making 10,000 free throws at will. It will be interesting to see what happens in the game tonight. I don't think the US has anybody who can effectively match up on Dirk, and as soon as he gets double teamed he's going to find the open shooter or the cutter. To survive in international basketball, you have to have shooters, and Germany has them. Should be a good game, and a good reflection on the sport when you think that, 15 years ago, the thought that anyone would beat the USA again was laughable. Granted, that was the Bird/Jordan/Magic Dream Team era, but still, it's nice to see other countries developing strong international records. Here's hoping Australia can get back on track, and Japan decides to give the greatest sport on the planet a bit more grass-roots attention and backing.