The French basketball team qualified for the semi-finals of the Euro at the expense of Italy. Vincent Collet’s men still had to fight until extra time to dismiss Squadra Azzura (93-85). The Blues will face Slovenia or Poland for a place in the final.
Miracles follow one another for French basketball players. This Wednesday, Vincent Collet’s players snatched their qualification for the semi-finals of Eurobasket-2022 on Wednesday by defeating Italy (93-85) after extra time in Berlin.
WE COME BACK FROM HELL
– French basketball teams (@FRABasketball) September 14, 2022
“It’s been twice now,” breathed captain Evan Fournier (17 pts). “We have to stop having this air pocket during which we do nothing,” he added, referring to the disastrous third quarter of the Blues. The French, Olympic vice-champions, will face in half Friday (5:15 p.m.) Slovenia of Luka Doncic or Poland, opposed in the evening (8:30 p.m.). The dream of Vincent Collet’s men to conquer the continental title remains intact. And here they are for the third time in a row in the semi-finals of a major tournament, after the bronze medal of the World Cup-2019 and the silver of the Tokyo Games last summer.
Too many bullet losses
However, once again, they no longer had their destiny in their hands. Like the Turkish Cedi Osman on Saturday, Simone Fontecchio (21 pts) missed the two free throws which could have put the Azzurri away sixteen seconds from the buzzer (77-75). And like Saturday, the Blues offered themselves a five-minute extension by equalizing on their last possession (77-77).
If the miracles follow one another, it is the same air pockets in the third quarter time. A 17-3 conceded (from 53-45 to 56-62) allowed the Italians to take the lead for the first time in the match. “In five minutes, there was everything, loss of balls, no withdrawal, no rebounds,” listed Evan Fournier.
Two steps from a potential title, Vincent Collet’s men are already European champions of lost balls in this tournament (almost 16 per match on average), their “sin” pointed to Vincent Collet, a sin confessed but still not corrected. The Blues offered too much candy to the Italians (17 loss of balls before extra time) while depriving themselves of shots. They owe their survival for a lot to their leader Thomas Heurtel who signed a great game (20 pts, 8 assists).