Australia has consolidated its status as one of the world’s top 10 basketball nations in the latest release of the FIBA World Rankings.
Following a silver medal performance at the 2018 FIBA World Cup for Women, the Opals have leapfrogged France to move into third place behind leaders USA. Tournament hosts Spain managed to hold onto second position ahead of the Opals despite earning bronze. Having been relegated to 5th in Spain, France dropped one place into fourth at the expense of Australia.
Asian rivals China and Japan, were the beneficiaries of solid campaigns, with China moving up three places into 7th, as did Japan who moved into 10th. Nigeria and Belgium received the biggest boosts, with the African nation climbing 13 places into 19th, while Belgium lifted 12 places and now sit in 16th in the world standings.
A new system of qualification commences from November 2019 for the women, covering the 2020 Olympics, FIBA Women’s Continental Cups and the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
Apart from the USA women’s team who have already directly qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, national teams will take part in the FIBA Women’s Pre-Qualifying Tournaments in three Regions – Africa, Americas, Asia (including Oceania) in order to qualify for one of the four global FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2020, which will be played in February next year. Six spots at this event will go to Europeans team from the 2019 Eurobasket event.
The same system of qualification will be applied for the next World Cup too, with Pre-Qualifying Tournaments held at regional level in November 2021 to qualify for one of the four global FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournaments in February 2022. More details on the new system of qualification for major tournaments can be found here.
In the senior men’s world rankings which were last updated in September following the latest FIBA World Cup qualifying window, Australia held firm in 10th position in the rankings.The Boomers’ solitary loss in the Asian qualifiers to date at the hands of Japan has them perilously close to falling out of the top 10 in the standings. Recent big wins against both Qatar on the road and against Kazakhstan in Bendigo, ensured the Boomers head into the next FIBA World Cup qualifying window in which they will play back-to-back games at Margaret Court Arena against Iran (30-Nov) and Qatar (3-Dec).
Australia’s junior men moved up into 9th place in August following a successful first half of 2018. The Crocs earned a debut gold at the 2018 FIBA Under-16 Asian Cup held in China before finishing in 6th place at the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Argentina. The good news for Australia is that the Emu’s win at the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Cup which qualified them for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, has not yet been added to the rankings, so will add further ranking points the next time the list is updated. Argentina who is currently ranked 8th, earned additional points for coming away with bronze at the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Americas Championship, so both teams should remain firm in their current positions as it currently stands.
The FIBA World rankings for youth girls has not been updated since December 2016, so it is hard to use the published standings as a realistic guide to where countries are currently ranked apart from the USA who would undoubtedly remain in 1st place.
So far in 2018, Australia’s junior girls came away with bronze at the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup, doing well to go close to being able to defend their title from two years earlier. After winning a debut FIBA Under-16 Asian gold in late 2017, the Gems will soon have a chance to add to the list of achievements at the fast approaching 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Cup, tipping off on 28 October in Bengalaru, India. this event serves as a qualifier for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup.