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Finland book first European slot at World Cup

Finland became the first team from Europe to lock up a ticket to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 after a series of results on the final day of window four of the European Qualifiers went their way.

Finland will make their second appearance at the FIBA World Cup after finishing 22nd at their debut in Spain 2014. But the Susijengi had to wait to celebrate in Tallinn, where they knocked off Estonia 76-68, improving to 7-1 in Group J.

The Finnish win over the neighbors was anything but easy though as Estonia fought back from a 15-point deficit and took the lead late in the third quarter. The beginning of the fourth quarter was tight until Sasu Salin hit a number of big shots to lead Finland with 20 points.

Earlier in the day, Germany surprised reigning EuroBasket champions Slovenia 90-71.

That result meant Finland would become Sweden fans later in the day as Lassi Tuovi’s men would clinch a berth in next summer’s tournament should the Swedes knock off Israel in Tel Aviv. 

And Sweden delivered with a 93-83 win over the Israelis.

It seemed only fitting that it was Sweden who helped Finland after Finland’s thrilling 81-79 win over Croatia in July allowed the Swedes to advance to the second round over the Croatians.

Finland hold the head-to-head records over both Slovenia and Sweden from the opening round, which means they are secured a top-three finish.

FIBA’s content team contributed to this article.

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