With the group stage complete, Team France now get down to serious business, starting on Saturday with what promises to be a contentious clash against Turkey (12pm). Third in Group B, the Blues advance as favorites against a formation coached by Ergin Ataman. But be careful because the Turks will count on the stands won for their cause at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Berlin.
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The elimination phase is fast approaching and all doubts are not evacuated. The author of a dazzling campaign, powerful winger Guerschon Yabusele (14.8 ppg average), injured in the thigh against Bosnia-Herzegovina, is still uncertain whether he will recover enough to play in the top eight against the Turks. In the case of the Real Madrid player package, Amath Mbaye, solid against Slovenia (13 points, 5 assists), is a candidate to succeed him in the starting five.
Vincent Collet confided his optimism about his player’s participation at a press conference this Friday afternoon. “We hope he will be therepositive french coach. It’s a muscle injury. The logic would be that it is there, but we have to wait until tomorrow. We spared him in training, even though we didn’t face any strong opposition. He was involved in the set-up, trotting around the field and it’s getting better and better. We still hope it’s there.” But aside from picking men, the Blues will primarily need to fix the shaky animation during the first round.
Guerschon Yabusele (France) against Germany. / EuroBasket 2022
Credit: Getty Images
First round to roam
“Offensive rigour”, two terms often bandied about by the Blues coach. Vincent Collet, deprived of the pair of Nicolas Batum – Nando de Colo, had to install a new hierarchy, built around Evan Fournier, assisted by Andrew Albicy and Terry Tarpey. Once the main five were built, it was necessary to correct the deficiencies that were evident during the inaugural defeat against Germany (63-76).
A less practiced attacking game is an insurance policy for the inevitable loss of bullets and a glaring lack of shots to attempt (13 less than the Germans). The result, after a measly 7 points (2/10) against Germany, Fournier gradually increased his skill level until he scored a nice total of 27 points against Lithuania (9/20).
In this luxury game, Rudy Gobert has also developed in the right direction since the beginning of the competition. The French giant was able to take advantage of the Slovenian impact at the backs and score more. Closer to the opponent, Gobert (19 points) struggled in the absence of Yabusele, a role he should play again on Saturday against Turkey.
Turkey, the pitiful opponent par excellence
Facing these Habs on the run, Turkey relies on stifling physical capital coupled with explosive individuals like Cedi Osman or Furkan Korkmaz. NBA-playing third baseman Alperen Sengun (20) even has the best total of the Turkish workforce with 91 points in five games. Suspect Vincent Collet is particularly sensitive to the challenge of facing Turkey, who scalped the Blues in a pre-World Cup 2019 friendly (69-74).
Since the silver medal on home soil at the 2010 World Championships, the Turkish team has lost its luster and has not appeared in the last four of an international tournament for almost a decade. A downgrade that Ergin Ataman’s men want to reverse. In second place in Group A with three wins and two losses, including the last against Spain (69-72), Turkey have everything against a French team that came for gold.
But in the meantime, the Turkish team suffered a twist of fate, which will be without its leader Shane Larkin (29) for the rest of the competition. The Efes Istanbul player, who was forced to undergo surgery on his right hand, was initially expected to take his place after the first trials in Turkey on Thursday, the Turkish Football Federation (TBF) announced. If Larkin hasn’t had a great Euro so far (9 points, 7 assists average), the 12 Giants workforce doesn’t have a constellation of leaders to replace him. Which moves the Blues a bit more towards the favorite status they will have to accept if they want to conquer Europe’s summits.
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