Japan's men's basketball team will face World Cup winner Germany, host nation France and a qualifier yet to be determined in a tough Group B at the Paris Olympics following a draw made Tuesday in Switzerland.

Japan's women, the Tokyo Olympics silver medalists and ranked ninth in the world, were also handed challenging tests as the top-ranked United States, sixth-ranked European champion Belgium and 19th-ranked Germany were drawn into Group C.

Japan men's head coach Tom Hovasse speaks to the press in Tokyo on March 20, 2024. (Kyodo)

Both men's and women's tournaments in Paris split 12 nations into three groups of four in the preliminary round. The top two teams from each group and two best third-placed teams will reach the quarterfinals.

"I don't know whether it'll be one win or two, but we want to shock the world," Japan men's head coach Tom Hovasse said. "We played Germany and France last year so have rough ideas about them. That's a really big help."

The men, ranked 26th, qualified for the Olympics as non-host for the first time in 48 years after winning three games at the World Cup last year hosted in Okinawa, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Led by Yuta Watanabe in the absence of fellow NBA player Rui Hachumura, Japan lost its opener to eventual champion Germany, currently ranked the world No. 3.

A six-team qualifying tournament in Latvia in July will confirm the final team to join Japan, Germany and ninth-ranked France in Group B. Georgia, the Philippines, Latvia, Brazil, Cameroon and Montenegro are vying for the spot.

Japan women's head coach Toru Onzuka speaks to the press in Tokyo on March 20, 2024. (Kyodo)

Japan's women lost twice to the United States at the Tokyo Olympics, including in the gold medal game, but edged Belgium in the quarterfinals.

"I thought 'here they come' and I'm looking forward to it more than anything," head coach Toru Onzuka said about the prospect of facing the United States in his team's opener in Paris.

"We want to make it an opportunity to show our development over the past three years. We'll of course go to win it."

"Germany and Belgium are also strong nations and hard opponents. We'll look to prepare well."



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