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Finland qualify for men's basketball world finals

A victory for Sweden over Israel helped to secure Finland's place at next year's finals tournament.

Sasu Salin pussitti Susijengille Viro-ottelussa 20 pistettä, Lauri Markkanen 18.
Lauri Markkanen (centre) scored 18 points in the win over Estonia, while Sasu Salin (back, right) scored 20. Image: Mika Kylmäniemi / All Over Pres
Yle News

The Finnish men's basketball team became the first European country to qualify for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup on Sunday evening.

The team — nicknamed Susijengi or Wolfpack — beat Estonia 76-68 in Tallinn, giving them a record of seven wins from eight games played so far in qualification Group J.

Their place at next year's tournament was sealed later on Sunday evening when Sweden beat Israel 93-83, meaning Finland are now guaranteed a top 3 finish in the group with four rounds of matches still to be played.

Head coach Lassi Tuovi told Yle that the team tried to follow the Sweden-Israel game while on their flight back to Helsinki from Tallinn.

"For many, it was certainly one of the best and most exciting flight in their life, but in a good way. Thank you, Sweden. Now we can enjoy this moment," Tuovi said, adding that the achievement was a "historic moment in Finnish basketball".

Finland has qualified for the finals on one previous occasion, in Spain in 2014, where the Wolfpack finished in 22nd place.

The 2023 Basketball World Cup finals will take place from 25 August to 10 September and for the first time in the tournament's history there will be a multi-host format, with the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia jointly hosting the finals.

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