Finland became the first team from Europe to lock up a ticket to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 after a series of results on the final day of Window 4 of the European Qualifiers went their way.
Finland will make their second appearance at the FIBA World Cup after finishing 22nd in their debut in Spain in 2014. But the Susijengi had to wait to celebrate in Tallinn, where they knocked off Estonia 76-68 to improve to 7-1 in Group J.
The Finnish win over the neighbors was anything but easy though, as Estonia fought back from a 15-point deficit and took the lead late in the third quarter. The beginning of the fourth quarter was tight until Sasu Salin hit a number of big shots to lead Finland with 20 points.
Earlier in the day, Germany had surprised reigning FIBA EuroBasket champions Slovenia 90-71 earlier in the day.
That meant Finland would become Sweden fans later in the day as Lassi Tuovi’s men would clinch a berth in next summer’s tournament should the Swedes knock off Israel in Tel Aviv. Sweden took care of business with a 93-83 victory.
It seemed only fitting that it was Sweden who helped Finland after Finland’s thrilling 81-79 win over Croatia in July allowed Sweden to advance to the Second Round instead of Croatia.
Finland holds head-to-head records over both Slovenia and Sweden from the First Round, which means they are secured a top-three finish. Germany is also 7-1 while Slovenia is 5-3, Israel and Sweden are both 3-5, and Estonia is 2-6.