OLYMPIC GAMES | BASKETBALL

Tokyo Olympics basketball 2021 schedule: games, dates, bracket

Sunday 25 July sees the start of the men's basketball at the Tokyo Olympics with the women's competition getting underway the following day.

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Tokyo Olympics basketball 2021 schedule: games, dates, bracket
THOMAS COEX AFP

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics basketball competition commences on 25 July when 24 teams (12 in the men's competition and 12 women's tournament) embark on their journey for a place on the podium.

There will be three groups composing four teams with each team playing their group opponent once. Eight teams will progress from the three groups with the top two nations advancing with the two best third-placed teams also progressing to the quarter-final stage.

Sin tituloSpain's Pau Gasol attends a basketball training session at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on July 22, 2021, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP)

The quarter-finals for the men's competition commence on 3 August with the corresponding round in the women's competition getting underway the following day. The consecutive semi-final and final games will be played with a two day interval.

The final for the men's competition will take place at the Saitama Super Arena on 7 August. The Saitama venue will also stage the final of the women's competition the following day with the reigning gold medal holders USA in both men's and women's competition very much the pre-tournament favorites to retain their crown.

Men's 2020 Olympic basketball - groups

Group A: Iran, France, USA, Czech Republic

Group B: Australia, Germany, Italy, Nigeria

Group C: Argentina, Japan, Spain, Slovenia

Women's 2020 Olympic basketball - groups

Group A: South Korea, Serbia, Spain, Canada

Group B: Nigeria, Japan, United States, France

Group C: Australia, China, Puerto Rico, Belgium

Sin tituloUSA's basketball player Sue Bird attends a training session during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on July 24, 2021. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

US Men gunning for fourth successive gold

The United States men's basketball team will begin their pursuit of a fourth successive Olympic title on Sunday with an intriguing match-up against a French squad led by a man the Americans will know well -- Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert.

Spearheaded by double Olympic champion Kevin Durant, the Americans have endured a bumpy lead-up to Tokyo as they were unexpectedly beaten by Nigeria and Australia.

Sin tituloUSA's Olympic basketball team player Kevin Durant attends a training session at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on July 22, 2021, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS / AFP)

But they made sure they arrived at the Games in the right frame of mind by beating Argentina and Spain, the 2019 World Cup winners, in their last two exhibition games before flying to Tokyo.

Since 1992 the United States have dominated the Olympics, with the "Dream Team" that included the likes of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson beginning a run in which the U.S. men captured six of the next seven Olympic titles.

But the 2-2 record in the build-up to Tokyo have raised questions on whether the U.S. can continue their Olympic reign.

On Sunday, the Americans will face a French team that outclassed them in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup, a result that condemned the U.S. to their worst result in a major international competition.

France also boasts some NBA pedigree. Along with centre Gobert, a three-time league defensive player of the year, the French can also count on Boston Celtics forward Evan Fournier and Nicolas Batum of the Los Angeles Clippers.