Spain beat Argentina 95-75 to win the FIBA Basketball World Cup for the first time since 2006 on Sunday.
Their victory in the final capped a stunning campaign for a squad considered among the rank outsiders when the 32-team tournament began.
The Spaniards scored first and never relinquished the lead, relying on swarming interior defence and superior rebounding to snuff out the offensive threat of 2004 Olympic champions Argentina.
Point guard Ricky Rubio racked up 20 points and three assists and Marc Gasol and Willy Hernangomez swatted three shots each as Spain pulled down 47 rebounds, 20 more than Argentina.
For Gasol it was the crowning achievement of an incredible year that saw him win an NBA World Championship with the Toronto Raptors before leading his national team to glory.
His 33 points in the semi-final victory over Australia put them in position to fight for the gold medal, but it was his defence that put them on the top step of the podium.
From the opening tip, the 34-year-old dominated the driving lanes to the basket that Argentina had used to such great effect against France, forcing them into outside shots that would not fall.
He was equally effective banging under the basket at the other end and he hit nine of his 12 free throws to maintain the gap between the two teams.
He and Rubio were rewarded for their performances in Spain’s unbeaten run to the gold medal with a place in the tournament’s five-man All-Star team, which was announced after the final.
There was to be no fairytale ending for the seemingly evergreen Argentinian Luis Scola, whose superb show against France had helped to carry his side into the final.
The 39-year-old power forward, his jet-black hair now flecked with grey at the temples, was kept well-shackled throughout.
And it was late in the third quarter before he notched up his first point from the free throw line.
The 2019 win for Spain marks the second time they have won the tournament on Asian soil, having claimed the 2006 title by beating Greece in Saitama, Japan.
Earlier in the day, Nando De Colo netted 19 points as France shot 43 per cent from behind the arc to take their second consecutive World Cup bronze medal with a 67-59 win over Australia. (Reuters/)
Edited by Felix Ajide
No new deaths from coronavirus registered in Spain
Fernando Simon, director of the Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies at the Ministry of Health confirmed that they had “not received notification of anyone passing away yesterday (Sunday). That is very good news.”
There was also a fall in new cases of COVID-19. The Health Ministry reported 71 new infections, 25 fewer compared with the 96 reported 24 hours earlier, taking the total to 239,638.
Spain receives no foreign tourists in April over COVID-19 lockdown: report
Meanwhile, the fact that travel restrictions remained in place throughout May means that the month that has just finished will also end with zero tourists from abroad and zero income from the sector.
By contrast, Spain welcomed 7.2 million tourists from abroad in April 2019, with each tourist spending an average of 990 euros (1,100 United States dollars) to generate a total income of 7,095 million euros during the month.
Spain registers 96 new COVID-19 infections, two new deaths
For the past seven days, 39 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 were reported.
Spain‘s health authorities also reported 96 new infections in the 24-hour period, compared with 271 new cases reported in the previous 24-hour span, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 239,429.
Of the 96 new cases, 42 came from the regions of Madrid and Catalonia, while six of Spain‘s 17 Autonomous Communities, including Valencia and the Basque Region, reported no new cases in the 24-hour period.
Also on Sunday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed that he would ask the Spanish parliament for a sixth extension to the current State of Alarm, which limits freedom of movement to help control the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a televised speech, Sanchez said the “final and definitive” extension, which would come into effect on June 8 and last until June 21, would be “different” and “much lighter” than the previous ones, but would be “necessary” to help his government control the relaxation of confinement measures.
Spain’s coronavirus death toll rises by 4 to 27,125
Spain reported four new coronavirus deaths in the 24-hour period until midnight Friday, raising the country’s death toll to 27,125, said the Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the country reported a sharp rise of 271 new cases, bringing the nationwide total to 239,228, compared with a rise of 187 cases in the previous 24-hour period.
Of the new cases, 183 were registered in the regions of Madrid and Catalonia, while 13 of Spain‘s 17 Autonomous Communities reported less than 10 new cases in the last 24 hours, according to the ministry.
Spain considering opening “tourist corridors” before July
The Spanish government is considering opening up safe “corridors” to allow foreign tourists to visit the Balearic and Canary Islands in the second half of June, Spanish Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Reyes Maroto was quoted by local media as saying on Saturday.
Spain received around 84 million tourists in 2019 with income from tourism making up 13 percent of the country’s GDP and providing 12 percent of jobs, but the ongoing health crisis has put the sector on hold. There is a 14-day quarantine requirement for the arrivals from foreign countries until July 1 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
But in an interview published in the La Vanguardia newspaper, Maroto said the government was considering easing restrictions for the two island groups which are among Spain‘s key tourist destinations.
“The islands have offered making these corridors and we will also talk to other Autonomous Communities to see if they are interested in corridors and what guarantees they could give us,” said Maroto.
Both the Canary and the Balearic Islands are currently in the third stage (Phase 2) of the Spanish government’s plan to ease restrictions. The small islands of El Hierro, La Graciosa and La Gomera (Canary Islands) and Formentera (Balearic Islands) will move into the fourth stage (Stage 3) on Monday.
Maroto added that “it is very important that the first tourists are tourists from countries which are in the same conditions as us and also in condition to fly safely.”
Brazil now has more coronavirus deaths than Spain
The Health Ministry said the total number of people who have died of the new coronavirus in Brazil has risen to 27,787.
The total number of confirmed infections rose to 465,166, the second-highest tally globally, behind the U.S.
The number of undetected cases and deaths is likely to be much higher due to a lack of testing and a lag in processing laboratory results.
He fears that a lockdown could harm the country’s economy.
However, a number of states have imposed exit restrictions and shutdowns to slow the spread of the virus.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
COVID-19 cases, fatalities stable in Spain
The ministry confirmed 39 COVID-19 deaths in the past seven days (one more than the 38 confirmed on Thursday). This means that 27,121 people have lost their lives in Spain to the coronavirus, but only two of those deaths were in the 24-hour period until midnight on Thursday.
There was a slight increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 detected by PCR tests (which indicate whether the coronavirus is active in the body). The ministry reported 187 new infections (compared with 182 in the previous 24 hours), taking the total number of confirmed cases to 238,564.
One hundred and eight of the new cases occurred in the regions of Madrid and Catalonia, while 12 of Spain‘s 17 autonomous communities reported less than 10 new cases each in the last 24 hours.
Spain to relax restrictions from Monday
About 70 percent of Spain‘s population will enjoy further relaxation on restrictions in place to control the spread of COVID-19 as it enters Phase 2 of its restriction plans on Monday, the Spanish Ministry for Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services said Wednesday.
Phase 2 allows commercial centers, restaurants, cinemas and theaters, among other businesses, to open at a limited capacity. Outdoor exercise and access to beaches is also permitted, alongside social distancing guidelines.
Eastern Spain, or Comunidad Valenciana, and southern Spain, including the provinces of Malaga and Granada, as well as the central provinces of Toledo, Ciudad Real and Albacete, will enter Phase 2 on Monday.
The Health Ministry has also allowed the small islands of Formentera in the Balearic Islands and La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa in the Canary Islands to progress to Phase 3, which further lifts restrictions.
The Madrid region will remain in Phase 1, along with the Castilla-Leon region of central Spain, while the provinces of Barcelona and Lleida will have to wait until at least June 8 before any restrictions are lifted.
Spain reports slight drop in new COVID-19 cases, deaths
The ministry confirmed 38 deaths in the past seven days (one less than the 39 confirmed on Wednesday) from COVID-19, meaning a total of 27,119 people have now lost their lives in Spain to the coronavirus.
There was also a drop in the number of new infections detected by PCR tests (which indicate whether the coronavirus is active in the body). The ministry reported 182 new infections (compared with 231 a day earlier), taking the total number of confirmed cases to 237,906.
Of the new cases, 106 were confirmed in the regions of Madrid and Catalonia, while 13 of Spain‘s 17 autonomous communities reported less than ten new cases each in the last 24 hours.
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