Canada will officially kick off their 2019 FIBA World Cup campaign against Australia on Sunday, September 1, at Dongfeng Nissan Cultural and Sports Centre, Dongguan, China.

After failing to qualify in 2014, Canada returns in the world stage of basketball as they parade a new crop of players led by Sacramento Kings point guard Cory Joseph.

Team Canada could have fielded a strong medal contender but they were ravaged by the withdrawals of NBA players Andrew Wiggins, Jamal Murray, Tristan Thompson, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett and Kelly Olynyk from the training pool.

Nevertheless, Canada is expected to give any team in the tournament a run for their money because there are still plenty of talents across the board. In addition, the hiring of Nick Nurse, who recently guided the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title, assures that this team is going to be a well-coached unit.

Key players to watch

Canada: Cory Joseph just rejoined the team after skipping exhibition matches against the Aussies and Americans; nonetheless, his role with the team will be immense.

Although he’s never been known as an explosive scorer, the NBA vet must lead the team in that department if they want to stun this Aussie team anew. Canada has plenty of shooters, but first, the offense should begin with a Cory Joseph penetration to open things up for his teammates.

Australia: Patty Mills is the obvious choice here. He’s been the heart and soul of the Boomers for over a decade now, and unsurprisingly, was the catalyst in their landmark win over the USA.

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Against Canada, Mills will have to once again carry the scoring load, and at the same time, facilitate the ball - something he has done time and time again as the star of the Boomers.

Prediction

On paper, the Australian Boomers boasts the better roster with a core of NBA veterans (Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova, Andrew Bogut and Aron Baynes) in tow.

The Aussies’ morale heading into the tournament is also at an all-time high after beating the visiting team USA in the second game of their back-to-back friendlies at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

The 94-98 home victory ended Team USA’s 78-game winning streak and also showed to the world that Australia is a real title contender in China.

But Canada already proved they can hang with the very best sans a bonafide NBA star. In fact, they gave the Australians a 20-point beat down on their home turf in their lone exhibition match.

Australia might have an edge in international basketball experience and perhaps talent, and yet Canada is still capable of pulling off another surprising result in their Group H play.

Pick: Canada 89, Australia 93

Live stream and Boxscore info

Canada vs. Australia will start at 3:30 AM Toronto Time/3:30 PM Perth Time. The game can be watched on FoxSports Australia and DAZN. Stream the game online at ESPN+ (US), DAZN (Canada), Fox Sports (Australia) and LBTV (UK).

Play-by-play and boxscore info of Canada vs.

Australia Group H match can be viewed on the 2019 FIBA World Cup official site.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup will feature 32 teams playing for international basketball supremacy from August 31 to September 15 in China.

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