The main protagonists heading to Paris are all set.
The final qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games took place over five days from August 8 to 12 (ET) in four different locations, and the 12 nations that will compete at the Games have been determined after intense competition.
Olympic host France and 2023 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Australia champion USA had already secured automatic qualification. Both teams earned their way to Paris by winning all three games.
First up was the final qualifier in Belém, Brazil, where Australia, Germany, and Serbia split the three tickets. Australia topped the standings with three wins out of three, followed by Germany with two wins and one loss, and Serbia with two wins and one loss to beat Brazil, who also had three wins out of three.
Germany needed a win in their final match against Brazil. The Germans were desperate to win the final match against Brazil, as it would complicate things if it went to a multi-player goal-scoring shootout with Serbia. Brazil also needed a win against Germany to keep their last hopes alive.
Germany and Brazil battled back and forth in a one-possession game until the final seconds of the game, when the score was tied 69-69 with 29 seconds left in regulation. That’s when Leonie Feibich shined. She converted all four of her free throws from the line. Brazil, on the other hand, missed Taina Faixiang in the clutch. In the end, Germany won 73-71 and qualified for their first Olympic Games in history.
Germany’s comeback was remarkable. Led by WNBA legends Satou Sabaly and sisters Niara Sabaly, they had the talent of Pfeifferich to get through the final round. In fact, Serbian head coach Marina Markovic, a legendary coach in European women’s basketball, said after the 66-73 loss to Germany, “Germany is a complete team with the Sabali sisters on board.”
The Sabali sisters combined for 30 points, 16 rebounds and five assists against Brazil. Feibich provided solid support with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists.
Brazil arrived at the Final Four as the champions of the Americas, beating out the United States. But they were unable to keep their heads above water in a three-game sweep at home.
The final qualifier in Antwerp, Belgium, was an uneventful affair, with the USA, Belgium, and Nigeria advancing to the main draw. It was also the final qualifier that confirmed that there was no difference between the world champion USA and European champion Belgium.
Brianna Stewart’s buzzer-beating shot gave the USA the win, but it left a bitter aftertaste. Kelsey Plum’s line crossing was not called in the previous game. In a game that should have gone to overtime, it was a USA victory, but Belgium put on a great performance and shocked the ‘real dream team’.
Nigeria’s opening game against Senegal was practically a guillotine 안전놀이터 match. Nigeria was down by 12 points to the Senegalese powerhouse, but the African champions came from behind to secure their second straight Olympic appearance.
The final qualifier in Xi’an, China, was another uneventful affair, with France, China, and Puerto Rico securing their tickets to the main event. We saw a return to international competitiveness for France and a brief halt to China’s rise. France avenged their World Cup quarterfinal loss to China with an 82-50 victory, a whopping 32-point margin.
Puerto Rico qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for the second straight time. They won a guillotine match against New Zealand to repeat as World Cup quarterfinalists and Olympic qualifiers.
In what was deemed the ‘Group of Death’, Japan, Spain and Canada punched their tickets to Paris with no upsets in the Sopron Final in Hungary. Japan was the victim of an upset loss to Hungary, but they showed the strength of their Tokyo silver medal by defeating Spain and Canada. Spain and Canada also finished second and third without much trouble.
Hungary was tied with Canada with one win and two losses, but lost out on the winner-take-all principle, ending a 44-year wait since 1980. They kept their hopes alive with a 22-point lead in their final game against Spain, but a lack of heart saw them slip through the net and miss out on a ticket to Paris.