September 13 - Britain are hoping to earn a wild card to compete in next year's World Championships so that they can build on their success in qualifying for the European Championships for the first time in more than quarter-of-a-century.

Britain lost all three games they played in Warsaw last weekend, ending with Wednesday night's 77-59 loss to Serbia, but their battling performances against three tough teams won them many admirers.

With world governing body FIBA keen to see if they are ready to compete at the 2012 London Olympics, Britain are now being tipped to get the nod for one of two wild cards for next year's World Championships in Turkey.

The decision is set to be made at FIBA's next Central Board meetings in Istanbul in December, and Britain's coach Chris Finch will no doubt hope the board members spend most of the time between then and now watching video re-runs of Tuesday' 84-76 loss to Spain.

Finch said: "That would be a great Christmas gift if it were to happen in December.

"It would be extremely fortunate for us but it would also be an indication that we're a growing country from a basketball perspective."

If Britain can continue to build on the rapid progress they have already made in the last two years, FIBA would seem unlikely to regret giving them a wild card.

That the Britons were able to compete here so strongly in Poland in the absence of injured Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng has certainly raised eyebrows.

With Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon also having confirmed he wants to play for the team down the road, forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu believes the pieces are there for Britain to field a roster worthy of inclusion.

He said: "It would be great if they give us the nod because if you look at our roster, you see that could potentially have two NBA All-Stars [Deng and Gordon], and another NBA player in myself.

"Then you have four or five other guys that play in mainland Europe and you think maybe that's strong enough for them to give us a nod."

Finch knows that Britain needs to be given more opportunities to continue the progression of the last three years.

He said: "The biggest thing we learned [in Poland] is that we're close.

"But it's going to take a lot to get to where we need to be.

"We really need to up the level of expectations around the programme.

"There are some little things we need to do a lot better as professionals and as a programme, but I'm sure we'll be able to put a lot of the lessons we learned into that."

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Future is bright claim Finch and Mensah-Bonsu
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September 2009: Britain lose opening EuroBasket match