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Spain And Croatia Advance To Olympics Knockout Round

Spain will face France, and Croatia will play Serbia.

Lars Baron/Getty Images

Both Sergio Rodriguez and Dario Saric will see their gold medal dreams live on until at least Wednesday.

Spain needed to win against Argentina in order to advance to the knockout stage of the 2016 Olympic Games, and they did just that. Sergio Rodriguez played just over 21 minutes (the most of any point guard on Spain), chipping in 5 points (2-4 FG, 1-3 3PT), 5 assists and 2 rebounds in Spain's 92-73 win over Manu Ginobili and Argentina. They will now play France in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. France, who finished third in Group A with a 3-2 record, is coming off a hard fought 100-97 loss to USA on Sunday. They're led by the strong guard play of Euroleague standouts Thomas Heurtel and Nando De Colo, who combined for 36 points on 16-27 shooting in the losing effort. Tony Parker sat out the game with a toe injury, but is expected to return for the quarterfinals.

Saric's Croatian squad clinched a spot in the top four of Group B at the start of Monday when Brazil beat Nigeria 86-69. The only meaning their game against Lithuania had was their quarterfinals opponent. A loss meant a fourth place finish in Group B, and an impending matchup with the top seeded USA.

Guided (as always) by Saric and the steady shooting Bojan Bogdanovic, Croatia was able to avoid the Americans for the time being with a 90-81 victory over Lithuania. Dario finished with 18 points (7-12 FG, 1-3 3PT), six assists, and three rebounds, while Bogdanovic had 22 points (7-14 FG, 4-5 3PT). Saric was especially good on drives to the basket on Monday, something he's otherwise struggled with throughout tournament play. He spent most of the game being guarded by newly minted New York Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas, and took him to the rack repeatedly. The 22-year-old played with a certain physicality on offense that has otherwise been lacking in his game, likely because he was matched up against smaller defenders. After five group play games, Saric is averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds, while shooting 43.1 percent (22/51) from the field.

The win actually vaulted Croatia to the top of Group B, and they'll take on Serbia at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday. If they beat Serbia, they'll see the winner of Australia-Lithuania later in the week.

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