US, Spain to meet in Olympic men's basketball final

Society Materials 22 August 2008 21:35 (UTC +04:00)

The United States defeated Argentina 101-81 on Friday to set up a gold medal clash with Spain in the Olympic men's basketball final.

The strong US squad dominated the game against the 2004 gold medalists from Athens and raced into a 21-point lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Argentines reduced the deficit to nine points in the second quarter but the US proved just too strong.

Earlier, Spain beat Lithuania 91-86 to become the first team to reach Sunday's final.

"We made history," "this is a dream," were some of the jubilant comments Spanish basketball players made after the match.

Spain last reached the Olympic final 24 years ago in Los Angeles.

"This will go down in history, we cannot ever forget it," said Spain captain Carlos Jimenez.

Coach Aito Garcia Reneses said he and his men were "very happy" to have reached the final, while wonderboy Ricky Rubio, who is only 17, was beside himself with joy.

"It is a dream for me. Four months ago I didn't even know if I was going to make it to the Spanish national team, and now look at this," the young point guard said.

Rubio got to play 24 minutes in the semifinals after starting point guard Jose Manuel Calderon suffered a leg injury, much to the consternation of Garcia Reneses.

"He has a problem in one of his legs. Today doctors said he could not play. We will wait to see if he recovers for the next game," the coach said, according to dpa.