Lithuania took the bronze medal and advanced to 5th place in the world rankings. (photo: FIBA)
ISTANBUL -- Lithuania's national men's basketball team has taken the bronze medal at this year's world championships in Turkey, one of the best results that the team has ever seen.
In a country where basketball is a way of life, the win had people celebrating in the streets of every major Lithuanian city well into the night.
"Words cannot describe what I am feeling right now, everyone on the team is celebrating and we are extremely happy for this bronze medal," said defender Mantas Kalnietis after the match.
The medal will likely ensure that Lithuania improves in the FIBA world rankings, going to number five from number six.
While Lithuania were far from favourites at the start of the tournament, they finished with an 8-1 record including victories over Spain, France, New Zealand, Argentina and Serbia.
Lithuania's only loss in the tournament was to eventual winners USA, who swept past the country in the final four and went on to beat host nation Turkey. It was the first time in 16 years that the US won world championships gold.