FIBA World Cup team-by-team breakdown

Aussie Opals take on FIBA Trivia Challenge (2:33)

Stars of the Australian Opals side face off in a barrage of world basketball trivia. (2:33)



FIBA ranking: 3rd

Last time: Runners-up (2018)

Outlook: Australia will be eager to bounce back from a lukewarm Olympic campaign and go one better than they did in 2018. The Opals can realistically make the top of the podium with the home crowd behind them.

Player to watch: Almost a decade after retiring from international basketball, Lauren Jackson is set to play an important bench role and complete a remarkable comeback.


FIBA ranking: 1st

Last time: Champions (2018)

Outlook: As the three-time defending champions, the US are rightfully favourites heading into the World Cup. Unsurprisingly, every member of the 12-woman squad is contracted with a WNBA side but eight will make their tournament debuts in Sydney.

Player to watch: A'ja Wilson is fresh from winning the WNBA championship with the Las Vegas Aces and earning the league's MVP award for the second time.


FIBA ranking: 26th

Last time: N/A

Outlook: Bosnia and Herzegovina ostensibly secured a free pass through the qualifying tournament when COVID-19 cases forced Belarus to pull out. But by upsetting Japan iat home in the qualifiers, the World Cup debutants shouldn't be underestimated.

Player to watch: Former WNBA first-round draft pick Jonquel Jones chalked up 36 points in her side's defeat of Japan in the qualifiers.

CANADA (Group B)

FIBA ranking: 4th

Last time: 7th place (2018)

Outlook: After missing the quarter-finals at the Olympics, Canada showed improvement in their World Cup qualifying campaign but have their work cut out in a competitive Group B.

Player to watch: Natalie Achonwa became the youngest woman ever to play for Canada when she was picked as a 16-year-old and in the 13 years since, has become a linchpin.

JAPAN (Group B)

FIBA ranking: 8th

Last time: 9th place (2018)

Outlook: Japan enter the World Cup after a silver at the Tokyo Olympics and made it through last year's Asia Cup undefeated. They'll look to shake off an unconvincing qualifying campaign and re-affirm their heavyweight status on the world stage.

Player to watch: Former Seattle Storm power forward Ramu Tokashiki missed the Olympics through injury so will be raring to go in Sydney.

CHINA (Group A)

FIBA ranking: 7th

Last time: 6th place (2018)

Outlook: China belted Mali and France on their way to an undefeated qualifying campaign and are a serious chance at the pointy end of the tournament.

Player to watch: Contracted with the Chicago Sky in the WNBA, expect towering centre Yueru Li to be a target for her teammates in attack and a headache for rivals in defence.


The Opals vs. Aussie Trivia Challenge

From deadly snakes and cult movies to Kylie Minogue, the Australian Opals test their local knowledge in a home-style trivia showdown.

FRANCE (Group B)

FIBA ranking: 6th

Last time: 5th place (2018)

Outlook: Last year's Olympic bronze medallists sputtered through the World Cup qualifiers under new coach Jean-Aime Toupane and go into Sydney understrength. They will be aiming for an early win against Australia or Canada for a much-needed confidence boost.

Player to watch: Without stars such as Sandrine Gruda and Olivia Epoupa, the French need a big tournament from Gabby Williams to make it out of Group B.


FIBA ranking: 13th

Last time: 14th place (2018)

Outlook: South Korea failed to win a game at the 2014 and 2018 tournaments but will rate themselves a chance to break their dry spell in winnable games against Puerto Rico and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Player to watch: Veteran forward Danbi Kim will need to have a big tournament with star player Jisu Park ruled out with a medical condition.


FIBA ranking: 10th

Last time: 8th place (2014)

Outlook: Serbia had the benefit of playing their qualifiers at home and went through undefeated. But like France, they come into the World Cup understrength and could bow out early unless they're at their best.

Player to watch: Guard Yvonne Anderson averaged a staggering 22.7 points per game in the qualifying tournament, including 30 in the win over the Opals.


FIBA ranking: 5th

Last time: 4th place (2018)

Outlook: In only their second World Cup Belgium should have no problems advancing through to the quarters after dispatching Puerto Rico and Russia on the road to qualification.

Player to watch: 2019 WNBA champion Emma Meesseman captains Belgium and was one of the standouts at the 2018 tournament.


FIBA ranking: 17th

Last time: 16th/last place (2018)

Outlook: FIBA's decision to ban Russia amidst conflict in Ukraine paved the way for Puerto Rico to play in their second tournament. After winless 2018 World Cup and 2020 Olympic campaigns, they'll be hungry to improve their international reputation.

Player to watch: Former WNBA guard Arella Guirantes was Puerto Rico's strongest performer in the qualifying tournament and will need to be at her best again.

MALI (Group B)

FIBA ranking: 37th

Last time: 15th place (2010)

Outlook: Mali came into the tournament as a replacement for Nigeria, whose government withdrew citing "unending dramas" around the management of the sport in the country. World Cup underdogs Mali find themselves in the tougher of the two groups.

Player to watch: Touted as an WNBA prospect, power forward Sika Kone has the chance to catch the eye of talent scouts now that she has shaken off a knee injury.