Germany may have topped Group E in Okinawa with a perfect 3-0 record, but its "special group" of players is only getting started at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, head coach Gordie Herbert said Tuesday.

Speaking after his side's 101-75 win over Finland, which followed a hard-fought 85-82 result against Australia and an 81-63 defeat of co-host Japan, Herbert said the world No. 11 outfit was "just in the beginning" of its journey.

"The peak of the mountain is here," said Herbert, holding his hand above his head. "We're halfway up. We have high expectations."

While Germany's flawless progress through the "group of death" in Okinawa may have come as a surprise to some, Herbert said it was a testament to the character and determination of his team, led by veteran point guard Dennis Schroder.

Germany's Dennis Schroder (L) brings the ball up the court during the third quarter of a FIBA Basketball World Cup Group E game against Australia at Okinawa Arena in Okinawa, southern Japan, on Aug. 27, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"It's just a tremendous group of guys who want to win, who want to play together, who want to fight, who want to represent their country," Herbert said.

The Canadian coach said the team had built on its success at last year's EuroBasket tournament, where it claimed bronze, and had brought a strong team identity to the World Cup taking place in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia through Sept. 10.

"Last year was a special group, this is a special group. We have a lot of continuity," he said. "You can see the players pull for each other, support each other."

The 29-year-old Schroder, a 10-year NBA veteran now with the Toronto Raptors, said the entire German roster and coaching staff shared the same vision at the tournament.

"Everybody just knows their role," he said. "The coach knows exactly what he wants and the players follow."

He said the team had also been buoyed by the presence of German basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki, who has been cheering from the stands at Okinawa Arena and sharing words of encouragement with the players.

"It's great for us and I think it's going to give us an extra boost," Schroder said.

Australia's Patty Mills (L) is pressured by Germany's Dennis Schroder during the fourth quarter of a FIBA Basketball World Cup Group E game at Okinawa Arena in Okinawa, southern Japan, on Aug. 27, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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