Poland defeated Italy 94:78 in the Sunday match of the qualifiers for the Basketball World Cup that will take place in China in 2019.
After defeating the Netherlands on November 29, Poland set the milestone for their first World Cup appearance since 1967, winning against Italy in front of the home crowd gathered at Ergo Arena in Gdańsk, northern Poland.
The Polish team outclassed the guests in the first quarter, when they built a 13-point lead. The following two quarters, although marginally won by Italy, let Poland begin the last quarter still eight points ahead.
Thanks to a classy performance from the veterans: Maciej Lampe and Łukasz Koszarek, Poland increased the advantage up to 17 points with only six minutes to go, and they controlled the game until the very end.
In February 2019, the Polish team will play the remaining two games of the qualifiers: an away game against Croatia, and against the Netherlands at home.
Poland needs one victory in those two matches, which is quite likely to happen, since the Dutch team is an outsider in the group and lost their last four games.
The promotion to the main tournament will also be achieved if Poland lose against Croatia by no more than four points, and Hungary lose against Italy in the away game.
The last time the Polish team qualified for the World Cup was 51 years ago in Uruguay, where they finished fifth. The newly introduced reform of the World Cup involves establishing the tournament in the pre-Olympic season so it will not collide with any other important basketball competitions.
Poland - Italy 94:78
Points for the Polish team: Lampe 22, Ponitka 18, Sokołowski 15, Waczyński 14, Slaughter 10, Koszarek 9, Gruszecki 3, Hrycaniuk 2, Cel 1.