In a spectacular showcase of basketball prowess, Spain’s national team, famously known as La Roja, clinched an emphatic 94-64 victory over Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) during their opening game at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. The match, held at Jakarta, Indonesia, highlighted the brilliance of Willy Hernangomez, who orchestrated a remarkable performance to secure Spain’s dominant win.
The magnitude of the triumph is underscored by the fact that Spain secured their ninth consecutive victory against African teams in the history of the FIBA World Cup, once again showcasing their formidable position in international basketball.
From the very beginning of the game, Spain exhibited their mastery by leading every second and establishing a commanding 32-point lead in the second half. EuroBasket’s newly crowned MVP, Willy Hernangomez, played an instrumental role, delivering a standout performance by contributing 22 points to the scoreboard. His brother Juancho Hernangomez added 11 points, while Usman Garuba chipped in with 12, further solidifying Spain’s dominance.
The initial minutes of the game saw a fierce battle, with Cote d’Ivoire putting up a resilient fight. However, the combined forces of Spain’s size, depth, and experience proved overwhelming for the Ivorians. Spain’s strategic prowess and calculated playmaking shone through, leading to a victory that showcased their unwavering determination to defend their championship title.
Willy Hernangomez, in particular, displayed his exceptional skills on the court. His 18-point contribution in the first half alone set the tone for the game. He demonstrated incredible accuracy, converting nine out of twelve field goal attempts, including a perfect seven-of-seven record in the second quarter. The versatile player also grabbed five rebounds, underscoring his impact in both scoring and securing possession.
Spain’s supremacy was further evident in their dominance of the boards, outrebounding Cote d’Ivoire by a significant margin of 48 to 26. This rebounding prowess complemented their crisp playmaking, as teenage sensation Juan Nunez dazzled with eight assists in his debut match.
As the match concluded, players and coaches from both teams reflected on the game’s dynamics and their performance. Vafessa Fofana of Cote d’Ivoire acknowledged the challenge posed by the reigning champions, admitting, “We made a lot of mistakes. We paid cash for every mistake, every turnover.” Despite the outcome, Fofana remained optimistic about their prospects in the upcoming matches.
Cote d’Ivoire’s head coach, Dejan Prokic, expressed his pride in his team’s effort, noting, “We tried to press them and make them play their best basketball against us, and I think we succeeded.” His acknowledgment of his players’ valiant effort resonated with the team’s determination to compete at the highest level.
For Spain, the win marked a solid start to their journey in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. Willy Hernangomez summed up the collective sentiment by acknowledging the challenges of starting such a prestigious tournament, “Everybody is very excited to play in this tournament, big win for us – always good to start with a win.” Spain’s head coach, Sergio Scariolo, praised his team’s attitude while acknowledging areas for improvement, stating, “We need to get better, and we look forward to the next one.”