Two unexpected and surprising results in the sports world. Germany qualified for the final of the FIBA Basketball World Cup at the expense of the perennial favorites from the US. In Paris at the starting match of the 2023 World Rugby Cup, la France beat the favorite All Blacks by an astounding 27/13.
Germany sealed a 113:111 victory, its first ever win against the US in any basketball match.
NBA stars Franz and Moritz Wagner, Dennis Schröder, and Daniel Theis carried much of the water for Germany, but Bayern Munich's guard Andreas Obst led the team with 24 points and picked up a handful of assists as well.
Point guard Dennis Schröder picked up 17 points, 9 assists and 2 steals in a solid showing. Obst also dropped a crucial three-pointer late in the game as Germany clung to a slim and diminishing lead.
It was the coolest game and the most important game. I'm a bit speechless, Obst told broadcaster Magenta after the win. We wanted to play fast ... and it worked.
Former German national team coach Henrik Rödl soon after the final buzzer and was full of praise for the Bayern Munich sharpshooter.
Our shooting guard Andi Obst was really on fire, scored 24 points for us. He's a guy who's very dangerous, but he showed many signs of greatness today, Rödl said.
The German team has never before reached a FIBA Basketball Wordl Cup final. With now-retired superstar Dirk Nowitzki in 2002, Germany reached the semis only to lose to Argentina. Nowtizki's response to the result on social media, Jaaaa, was short and sweet and probably needs no translation.
We have some great guys there. We fought until the absolute end, Franz Wagner of the Orlando Magic said after the game. It is very, very special and now we have to go win the title.
Franz Wagner was one of three Germans to drop more than 20 points, he had 22 but Bayern Munich's Andreas Obst led the team with 24 points, Daniel Theis also bagged 21.
Despite the US taking a very young team to the competition in Asia, with more veteran players declining to participate in an international competition shortly before the start of the NBA season, the still star-studded squad remained the bookmakers' favorites going into the tournament.
Serbia await in the final on Sunday in Manila, having beaten Canada in the earlier semifinal thanks in no small part to Bojan Bogdanovic's 23 points on 66.7% shooting.
But Serbia are without their most famous player, recently crowned NBA champion Nikola Jokic.
Jokic said after his name was surprisingly omitted from Serbia's squad that he was physically and mentally fatigued after the championship run with the Denver Nuggets and wanted to focus on pre-season preparation.
Meanwhile in the Stade de France, les bleu made the perfect start on their quest for a first Rugby World Cup title as they beat three-time champions New Zealand. The hosts had to fight deep into the final quarter after tries from New Zealand wing Mark Telea inside the opening minutes of both halves threatened to wreck the opening-day party.
Ultimately, though, Thomas Ramos' relentless boot and a well-worked try from Damian Penaud edged them clear of the enterprising, if fading All Blacks.
A 73rd-minute penalty from Ramos finally put France out of seven-point range on the scoreboard and the home fans could celebrate in comfort as their players hunted for a crowning try and a 27/13 victory..
They found it with three minutes left as Melvyn Jaminet gathered fellow replacement Maxime Lucu's teasing chip.