France pulled off the shock result of the opening day of the World Championships by beating reigning champions Spain 72-66.

With several key players – including Tony Parker, Joakim Noah and Mickael Pietrus – opting not to make the trip to Turkey, many had written off France’s chances of making any noise at the tournament.

But after their shock Group D result, they are now in a prime position to advance to the second round.

“They are the best in the world. It was great to play Spain first as we had to jump straight into the tournament. It has given us great confidence,” said forward Nicolas Batum.

Earlier in the day it looked like an even bigger upset was set to take place as Australia were forced to rally hard to overcome a spirited Jordanian side. In the end, the Aussies scraped a 76-75 win.

Elsewhere, Serbia hammered Angola 94-44,  Greece defeated China 89-81, Brazil topped Iran 81-65, Turkey trounced Ivory Coast 86-44 and Russia beat Puerto Rice 75-66.

While Team USA eased past Croatia 107-78.

Eric Gordon, the Los Angeles Clippers, guard paced the USA offense, which was the only team to break through the century scoring mark in the World Championship’s first day of action, with 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

“We were pleased with the effort of our team,” said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski.  “I thought they played us extremely well in the first quarter and then we went on a spurt … three 3-point shots that kind of broke it open. We beat a really good team tonight and we have to turn around and face another really good team tomorrow afternoon.”

Chuncey Billups accounted for the USA’s first five points as the U.S. jumped out to a 7-0 lead with the game barely 1:12 old.  But Croatia slowly chipped away and after Marko Banic grabbed a rebound and made the put back, Croatia had its first and only lead of the night 19-18.  Westbrook made two free throws to push the USA back ahead and after the first 10 minutes the USA was holding a 22-20 lead.

Trading baskets to open the second quarter, the score stood at 24-22 in favour of the U.S. Kevin Durant quickly posted five points to launch the USA on a 12-0 run that expanded the red, white and blue’s advantage to 36-22 with 6:47 to play in quarter two.

Holding a 38-26 lead with 3:38 remaining in the second period, the U.S. broke the game wide open when Gordon drained back-to-back 3-pointers and Rudy Gay nailed a three of his own and then converted on one of two free throws to push the Americans in front 48-26 at the half.

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