Less than 6 hours before tip-off, Lebanon will play its first game in its third consecutive appearance at the FIBA World Championships against Canada. This will be the second time these teams play each other after Canada smashed Lebanon in the position games in the 2002 Worlds.
However, things are different this time, as Canada has not improved much while Lebanon embarked on a major recovery from the last-place finish in the 2002 championship, as Lebanon defeated Venezuela and France yet was unable to qualify for the second round due to the point differential factor. Lebanon is predicted by ESPN.com as the second weakest team in Group D with only New Zealand weaker than them. Yet in Efes Pilsner World Cup, which is a warm up for the biggest FIBA competition, Lebanon played Canada in each’s last game and managed to score an 88-76 win, with Jackson Vromann and Matt Freije shining in the win in addition to the help provided by Fadi El Khatib and Rony Fahed. Lebanon also lost its first two games, the first in a hard fought game to group competitiors Argentina 89-82 and were swept by Turkey 93-72.
Although it may look hard, yet Lebanon seems to have a better chance than even to get out of the first round, as losses to defending champs Spain, Lithuania, and Argentina are expectable, which leaves them two games against New Zealand and Canada, both beatable teams and would be more than enough for Lebanon to make it to the Round of 16.
Below can be seen the roster of Team Lebanon and its schedule in the round robin play.
Team Lebanon Schedule:
Saturday, August 28, 2010/ 6:30 PM: Lebanon vs. Canada
Sunday, August 29, 2010/ 6:30 PM: Lebanon vs. France
Tuesday, August 31, 2010/ 4:00 PM: Lebanon vs. New Zealand
Wednesday, September 1, 2010/6:30 PM: Lebanon vs. Spain
Thursday, September 2, 2010/6:30 PM: Lebanon vs. Lithuania
TEAM LEBANON ROSTER:
JEAN ABDEL NOUR
FADI EL KHATIB