Israel will face Great Britain after being drawn against them in the qualifying draw for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The country, which will be co-hosting FIBA EuroBasket 2017 – the first time its played host to the competition – will also meet European heavyweights Greece and a yet to be confirmed pre-qualifier.
Happy with the draw, the Israeli Basketball Association said: “It keeps us dreaming of going to China, it’s a draw with which we think we can qualify.
“Obviously, Greece is the better team in the group but in Israel, we always believe we can beat any team and qualify to the second round. There, we think we will get Serbia, Germany and Georgia (from Group G). We believe Serbia and Greece will qualify for the World Cup, but we are in the picture all the way to qualify and this is our goal. We believe we can get to the World Cup for the first time since 1987.”
Israel and GB will play each other in two pre-EuroBasket 2017 friendly games – which were scheduled before the draw was made. The IBA spokesman added: “We don’t take anything lightly and nothing comes easy for us, we’re going to play them in two scrimmage games in August and it’s a good opportunity for us to get to know them.”
The qualifying campaign begins nine weeks after the EuroBasket final, when Israel hosts the qualifying team on 24 November.