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Hachimura and Watanabe to lead Japan FIBA World Cup

Rui Hachimura celebrates with Yuta Watanabe and Yudai Baba, left, after beating Germany 86-83 in men's friendly basketball game in Saitama, Aug 24, 2019

While tough games await for Akatsuki Five, fans have high hopes for them at FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.

For the first time in 13 years, Japan is qualified to play for FIBA World Cup 2019. This time around, Japan has legitimate players including two of them are currently playing for NBA in the US, Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe. 

Japan Basketball Association announced 12 players who represent Japan at FIBA World Cup. 

For Japanese fans, the expectations are unprecedentedly high. During warm-up games in Japan this month, Japan beat Germany and New Zealand. 

Japan, currently sitting at 49th in the FIBA ranking is in Group F with Turkey (17th), Czech Republic (24th) and the United States (1st). First match is scheduled in Shanghai for 18:30 (AEST) on September 1, 2019 against Turkey. 

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