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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Spain ease into world semi-finals
Juan-Carlos Navarro
Navarro helped Spain reach the semi-finals for the second time
Spain became the first team to reach the semi-finals of the World Basketball Championship in Japan with an 89-67 win over Lithuania on Tuesday.

Memphis Grizzlies centre Pau Gasol scored 25 points and Juan Carlos Navarro 22, while Darius Lavrinovic was Lithuania's top scorer with 17.

Spain face Argentina in the semi-final after their 83-58 win over Turkey.

The other quarter-finals on Wednesday see France play Greece and Germany take on the United States.

Spain coach Pepu Hernandez said: "It was a very special game for me because one of our goals was to get to the semi-finals.

In Turkey, nobody expected we could be in the last eight

Cenk Akyol

"Whoever wants to beat us will have to play very good physical basketball with a good strategy and good shooting. It will be difficult for anyone to beat us."

Lithuania's coach Antanas Sireika said: "Mentally we were not prepared for such an important game.

"You can't afford to make 28 turnovers against such a good team as Spain and expect to get away with it."

Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez was thrilled by what he called their best performance of the tournament so far.

"We thought the game would be more difficult," he said.

"We had easy points. We could play with great mentality in offense. It was our best game in the championship."

Cenk Akyol, who was Turkey's top scorer with 11 points, said they had done well just to get that far in the tournament.

"In Turkey, nobody expected we could be in the last eight. I'm proud of my team," he said.

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