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Veselin MATIC, head coach (Iran). Quarter-Finals, 2009 FIBA Asia Championship Men, Tianjin, China. 14 August 2009.

ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship) - Iran coach Veselin Matic is looking forward to pitting his team against world-class opposition for a second straight weekend as his team warm-up for the FIBA World Championship by playing in the Istanbul Cup.

Turkey, New Zealand and Serbia will join Matic's squad in Istanbul this weekend and the coach sees the tournanent as a crucial step in their preparations.

"These games are very important to us before the group stages of the FIBA World Championship," he said.

"According to the Asian rankings, we're obviously a strong team. But we need to play teams from around the world to find out our real strength."

Last weekend, Iran played in the Stankovic Continental Cup in China, but came in last against the hosts, Australia and Slovenia.

Matic is hoping for a much better showing this time around, and believes his team are getting better as they prepare to welcome

Hamed Haddadi into the mix after his spell in the NBA Summer League.
"We are coming together as a team," he said. "Haddadi will make us better and then we will have our most important players.

"We are the champions of Asia and we want to show that quality in this tournament."



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