Andrew Bogut is sure the old Boomers would’ve blown it.
Things have changed though, the Australian centre says, as they prepare for a maiden World Cup semi-final against Spain on Friday.
Wednesday’s tense 82-70 defeat of the Czech Republic in Shanghai saw them improve to 6-0 in the tournament on the same night two-time defending champions United States crashed out of medal contention.
Bogut was huge in the third quarter with the game in the balance, making crucial plays at both ends in a 10-point, three block, three assist supporting act to tournament MVP contender Patty Mills (24 points, six assists).
Argentina’s upset of Serbia on Tuesday mean China’s is the first World Cup where neither the European powerhouse or the United States will feature in the final four.
— Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) September 11, 2019
Australia aren’t looking past Spain though, who beat the Boomers by one point in the Olympic bronze medal game in 2016.
“We remember that game; we’ve held that for three years,” Bogut said.
“Spoke about it numerous times, and it still hurts today.
“We have a chance to salvage that in a couple days.”
And he says that salvage act has only come about because of losses like their brutal one in Brazil.
“I learned a long time ago, especially in Rio, if you look ahead in these tournaments, you shoot yourself in the foot,” he said.
“This is the kind of game we would’ve lost years ago.
“We thought we accomplished something coming into a game like this, and we would’ve squandered it.”
Coach Andrej Lemanis admitted there was some “anxiety” in the early stages that contributed to six first-quarter turnovers.
But he credited his side for sticking to their guns, finishing with 11 turnovers for the night on 21 assists.
“The way they play for one another, there’s never finger pointing, it’s about finding solutions … it’s inspiring,” Lemanis said.
“But the thing is now, the job’s not finished for us.
“We finished fourth in the Olympics and that was a terrible feeling.
“We’ve given ourselves an opportunity now and we want to ensure that we do everything we can to take advantage of this opportunity.”
* Argentina def Serbia 97-87
* Spain def Poland 90-78
* France def USA 89-79
* Australia def Czech Republic 82-70
* Spain v Australia (Friday, 6pm AEST)
* Argentina v France (Friday, 10pm AEST)