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Serbia Spain-bound

LJUBLJANA (AP) – Serbia booked the final qualifier spot for the 2014 World Cup on Saturday by knocking off Italy 76-64 to claim seventh place at the 2013 European Championship.

SERBIA’S Nemanja Bjelica, left, and Italy’s Luca VitaliNenad Krstic had 17 points while Nemanja Bljeca collected 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for Serbia, who became the 20th team to reach Spain 2014.

Four more nations will be given wild cards, which will be handed out at a meeting from November 24-25 in Buenos Aires.

“It was very important to qualify for the World Cup. I hope this young team will stay together for many, many more years,’’ said Nemanja Nedovic, who added 12 points.

Serbia were the youngest team at EuroBasket 2013 at just 24.2 years of age.

But their coach, 69-year-old Dusan Ivkovic, hinted at the post-game press conference that he would leave the Serbian national team.

“Everything about my position in the national team will be announced in two days,’’ said Ivkovic, who has been at the helm since 2008.

Italy are left the unlucky losers in eighth place – empty-handed after winning their first five games of the championship and then going 1-5 the rest of the way.

“We have to be proud of ourselves and keep this experience for future appointments,’’ said Italy’s Luigi Datome, who led Italy with 19 points.

Alessandro Gentile added 14 points and Andrea Cinciarini had 11 points, six assists and five rebounds.

The EuroBasket 2013 title will be decided on Sunday as France take on Lithuania after Spain face off against Croatia in the bronze medal game.