Nine years on from their first and only international title in 2013, Vincent Collet’s men are one step away from a second crown on Sunday (8.30pm). But undoubtedly the highest in the scope of their journey.
In the evening (20:30) they will have to overcome Germany or Spain, who will fight for second place in the final. So the result of this half will offer either a shock against the Nationalmannschaft overreaching in its capital and better than the Blues in the group stage (76-63), or a European basketball classic against the rival Roja, so often the killer of tricolor dreams. .
After two overtimes won thanks to two miracles in the round of 16 against Turkey and in the quarter-final against Italy, this time the Olympic vice-champions did not tremble once, led by their interior Guerschon Yabusele, the author of his scoring record in the selection. (22).
Clumsy Poland (a total of 32% success rate) and muzzled was already demoted to 16 points (34-18) at halftime.
Executives at ease
Not since Czechoslovakia in 1946 has a team conceded so little in the middle of a Euro game (12 points against Hungary).
Evan Fournier’s band (10 points) followed his three-time best NBA defender (2018, 2019 and 2021), Rudy Gobert (6 points and 6 rebounds), who collected counters (3) in the second quarter. The gap widened quickly, the executives could even relax as only one player spent more than 20 minutes on the floor.
The weaknesses, especially the loss of balls (7 in the first round), remain, but “we have to live with it”, resigned coach Vincent Collet. “We don’t have all the qualities, but we don’t give up in any case,” he said positively. His players have flaws, but defense.
Also the help of fate. In the quarter they were waiting for Nikola Jokić’s Serbia, they had Italy. They half expected Slovenia from Luka Doncic, they had Poland. And the Olympic runners-up did not miss this “big opportunity” according to Vincent Collet to go to the final.
Third European final
That’s right, you don’t choose your opponent, and especially not the French team. When the Blues could have dropped their last two group games to avoid a dangerous trip on paper, they didn’t.
Fate rewarded them. “We are not playing an unplayable team,” summed up Vincent Collet modestly.
“We’ve never defended like we did today since the start of the tournament, they couldn’t attack. We had a lot of success in the second half,” analyzed the coach on the W9 channel after the meeting.
The surprise visitors from Poland did shoot down Slovenian phenom Luka Doncic, the defending champions, but the feat marked their first breakthrough in four years after 51 years. When the French basketball players missed it only once in five editions since 2011.
This third European Championship final in eleven years (out of a total of four) says something about the current reservoir of French basketball, which is still at its peak without being complete. This final, synonymous with a seventh medal in Vincent Collet’s thirteen-year tenure, also speaks volumes for Normandy’s record.