MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Iran has clinched Asia’s final qualifying spot for the basketball World Cup despite losing its final playoff game 86-74 to China on Sunday.
Going into the final round of playoff matches, Iran and Kazakhstan were the last teams left with hopes of qualifying for the World Cup from Group F, which contained already-qualified Australia, China and Japan.
To clinch the fourth and final qualifying spot, Iran only needed to match Kazakhstan’s result in its final game against Australia. Kazakhstan lost 98-53 at Melbourne also Sunday, meaning Iran’s fourth-quarter fade-out against China in Hong Kong didn’t end its World Cup campaign.
Despite one round of qualifying matches remaining in Asia’s other playoff group to be played on Monday — New Zealand, Lebanon, Jordan and Philippines had already secured the top four qualifying places in the six-team Group E.
Final playoff matches in Africa, Europe and the Americas are also being played on Sunday and Monday to complete the 32-team lineup for the World Cup to be jointly hosted by Japan, Philippines and Indonesia from Aug. 25.
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