The quarterfinals of the Eurobasket between France and Italy, on Wednesday, September 14, have everything as a surprise. First because Italy faced Serbia in the round of 16, the great favorite for the coronation, and then because France was dying before the Turks. At the bottom of the abyss they found the light. The Olympic runners-up got their way on Saturday against Turkey and remain on course for the title, their stated goal. However, against the Transalpinas, there are reasons to be cautious.
Because France is far from being untouchable
The Tricolores sign a European Championship so far in line with all their preparation, with flashes that make them a legitimate contender for the title, and recurrent air pockets capable of derailing them. Evan Fournier and his team have a level, both individual and collective, that few teams can have in this competition. It would still be necessary, finally, to erase the very scum that could have turned this Berlin miracle into a disaster.
Against the Turks, the French lost 21 balls, due to so much ammunition offered to their opponent. No other team lets slip as many possessions per game as France (15.8 on average) at this European Championship. “It has been our Achilles heel since the beginning of the competitionVincent Collet warned his men before the game, in a video from the French Basketball Federation. We can’t, coming into cleaver games, afford that. If we don’t lose the ball, we win, because we can defend well and we will get our points.“
The warning is ultimately free. But above all it can be ephemeral if it is not followed by a reaction. “VSslapped us in the face“, assured Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot after The Blues meeting so as not to fall into their traps, and manage to stay focused for 40 minutes.
Because Italy is unpredictable
It will also be absolutely necessary for the French to show desire and heart. Because in front of them, heart, guts or whatever name we want to give it, the transalpine team is not going to miss it. Italy made a big splash by leaving Serbia and its star Nikola Jokic, a two-time NBA MVP for the title, on Sunday. This victory, the transalpines built for themselves, with their dedication, and their ability to compensate for the lack of talent with exceptional collective virtues.
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However, they will have to do without their leader, Danilo Gallinari, seriously injured in the knee in the preparation. He even had to do without his coach, Gianmarco Pozzecco, excluded during the third quarter against the Serbs. But instead of sinking, this fact of the game and the confidence that Pozzecco gave off, who went to the ground kissing each of his players, transcended the Italians. “The result seems surprising, but Italy is a very good team that plays a very particular kind of basketball.analyzed Rudy Gobert at a press conference this Monday. The Italians went to look for the classification playing an excellent game. They defended very well and the players made the right shots. It is not a coincidence.“
Playing against a team so driven by their emotions is hard to fathom. Especially since Italy does not depend on a single man to shine. Full-back Simone Fontecchio, one of the most underrated players in Europe, will be the main danger, both because of his ability to create his shot (average 19.2 points for this European Championship) and because of his strong defense. But he is not the only option. Serbia paid to watch, punished by surprising leader Marco Spissu, author of 21 points on 6/9 triples, 4 rebounds, 6 assists after averaging 3.8 points in the group stage.
Because the “ease” has weighed on them many times
France’s staff must not have been unhappy to see Euro favorites Serbia fall so early. Because the road to the gold medal seemed like a Herculean task: Jokic’s Serbia in the quarters, Luka Doncic’s Slovenia in the semis, then Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Greece, or even Spain, in the final. However, Italy is not an announced victim. The two victories in preparation, the first narrowly (78-77 after extra time), the other much larger (100-68), as well as the same scenario, during the last Olympic Games (84-75), did not offer no guarantee of success at Les Bleus on Wednesday.
“When you beat a team three times in the space of a year, the further you get, the more you can subconsciously tell yourself that these games are going to be the same.anticipates Rudy Gobert. While not. We learned that the hard way against Argentina in the World Cup.The center of the France team refers to this victory over the United States in the quarterfinals of the 2019 World Cup in Russia, before sinking against the Argentines in the following game.
During Euro 2003, France had also met Italy for a match with double stakes: the bronze medal and a ticket to the Games in Athens. Winner of Transalpina (85-52) in the group stage, Tony Parker’s troops had been defeated by this same Italy, which took revenge (69-67) in this decisive match. No medal, no Olympic Games for the Blues.
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