SAPPORO (Japan): European champion Greece and Olympic runner-up Italy advanced to the play-off rounds of the World basketball championship with tension-packed triumphs on Tuesday.

A three-pointer from Nikos Zisis with two seconds remaining gave Greece a dramatic 72-69 win over Australia to clinch a Group `C' berth, while Italy rallied for the third game in a row in the fourth quarter to dispatch Senegal 64-56.

Other games on Tuesday saw China blow an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter and lose 90-87 in overtime to Puerto Rico, dimming its hopes of advancing in Group `D', and Lithuania rout Qatar 106-65 in Group `C'.

The results: Group `C': Greece 72 bt Australia 69; Lithuania 106 bt Qatar 65; Turkey 73 bt Brazil 71. Group `D': Puerto Rico 90 bt China 87; Italy 64 bt Senegal 56; U.S.A. 114 bt Slovenia 95. Agencies

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