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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Champions Serbia into round two
Serbia and Montenegro's Igor Rakocevic
Real Madrid star Igor Rakocevic scored 26 points for Serbia
Defending champions Serbia and Montenegro reached the knockout stages of the World Basketball Championship on Wednesday by beating Venezuela 90-65.

While Lebanon, Venezuela and Nigeria can catch them on points, the Serbs have an insurmountable for-and-against differential after their second win.

The United States, already through, recorded a fourth straight win, beating Italy 94-85 in a physical contest.

Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points as the favourites overturned a 45-36 deficit.

The Americans are aiming to end a six-year Olympic or world title drought, having finished an embarrassing sixth at the last World Championship in 2002 and bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Olympic gold medallists Argentina also progressed to the last 16 after beating Nigeria 98-64, Andres Nocioni scoring 23 points.

Spain and Turkey also maintained their perfect records with a fourth win each.

Pau Gasol led Spain to a 93-83 victory over Angola, the Memphis Grizzlies forward scoring 28 points as the group leaders extended their winning streak to 13 games.

US college star Engin Atsur inspired Turkey to a 76-69 win over Qatar, while Yao Ming was finally able to celebrate a victory for China.

The star centre scored 26 points in a 100-83 win over Senegal, keeping China's hopes of progress alive if they beat Slovenia in their final group game on Thursday.

"It's like the first cup of water after 10 days," Yao said. "But we're still in the desert. We need to dig out more water."


Group A: Serbia and Montenegro 90-65 Venezuela
Argentina 98-64 Nigeria
Lebanon 74-73 France

Group B: Spain 93-83 Angola
Germany 81-63 Panama
New Zealand 60-57 Japan

Group C: Lithuania 78-57 Australia
Turkey 76-69 Qatar
Brazil 80-91 Greece

Group D: China 100-83 Senegal
Slovenia 90-82 Puerto Rico
United States 94-85 Italy


SEE ALSO
China lose again as USA progress
22 Aug 06 |  Basketball
Title holders claim first victory
21 Aug 06 |  Basketball
Wade guides USA to easy success
20 Aug 06 |  Basketball
Nigeria shock Serbia & Montenegro
19 Aug 06 |  Basketball
US depleted by Arenas injury blow
14 Aug 06 |  Basketball


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