Why the Blues should beware of Italy’s trap in the quarter-finals

The European Basketball Championship quarter-final match between France and Italy on Wednesday (September 14th) was a surprise. First because Italy faced Serbia in the round of 16, the top candidate for the coronation, and then because France was in agony against the Turks. At the bottom of the abyss, the blues found the light. The Olympic vice-champions got away with it on Saturday against Turkey and remained on the path to winning the title, a goal scored by Rudi Gobert and his teammates. In the face of Transalpines, there are reasons to be careful.

Because France is far from untouchable

Tricolores are signing the Euros so far in keeping with all their preparations, with flashes that make them a legitimate title contender, and frequent air pockets capable of derailing them. Yvan Fournier and his team have an individual and collective level that few teams in this competition can have. Finally, it will still be necessary to erase the same malice that could have turned the miracle of Berlin into a disaster.

Against the Turks, the French lost 21 balloons, in exchange for the ammunition he had given to their opponent. No other team allows so many possessions to slip away per match as France (15.8 on average) in this Euro. “It’s been our Achilles heel since the start of the competition.Vincent Colette warned his men before the match, in a video from the French Basketball Federation. We can’t, coming to the lord matches, afford that. If we don’t lose the ball, we win, because we can defend hard and we’ll get our points.”

The warning is finally free. But it may be short-lived in the first place if no reaction follows. slap us in the faceAfter the meeting, Timothy Lowe-Caparo reassured. To the blues no longer falling into his traps, he managed to maintain his focus for 40 minutes.

Because Italy is unpredictable

It will also be necessary for the French to show desire and heart. Because before them, the heart, the courage or whatever name we want to give it, the transalpine team will not miss them. Italy created a sensation when it left Serbia and its star, Nikola Djokic, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, on Sunday. This victory, the Transalpins built themselves, through their own self-sacrifice, and their ability to make up for talent shortages with exceptional collective virtues.

But they must dispense with their captain, Danilo Galinari, who suffered a serious knee injury while preparing. They even had to lay off their coach, Gianmarco Bosico, who was left out during the third quarter of the match against the Serbs. But rather than drowning out, this reality of the game and the confidence that Bosico, letting the floor kiss each of his players, overtook the Italians. “The result seems surprising, but Italy is a very good team, playing a rather unique basketballRudy Gobert analyzed it at a press conference on Monday. The Italians went on to get the qualification by playing an excellent match. They defended very well and the players took the right shots. It is no accident.”

It’s hard to understand playing against a team that is motivated by their feelings. Especially since Italy does not depend on just one man to shine. Winger Simon Fontechio, one of the most underappreciated players in Europe, will be the main danger, both in terms of his ability to create his shot (19.2 points on average for this euro) and deploy an iron defence. But it is not the only option. Serbia pushed to watch, penalized by surprise leader Marco Speso, 21 points in 6/9 three throws, 4 rebounds, 6 assists after averaging 3.8 points in the group stage.

Because “ease” often weighed them down

The France team must have been unhappy to see Euro favorites, Serbia, fall back so early. Because the road to the gold medal seemed like an uphill task: Serbia by Djokic in the quarter, Slovenia by Luka Doncic in the semi-finals, then Greece by Giannis Antetokonmo – or even Spain – in the final. However, Italy is not an advertised victim. The two wins in preparation, the first narrow (78-77 after extra time), the other much wider (100-68), and also in the same stage, during the last Olympics (84-75), would not offer any guarantees of success at Les Bleus on Wednesday .

“When you beat a team three times in a year, the more you progress, the more you tell yourself, subconsciously, that these matches are going to be the same.Rudy Gobert expects. while not. We learned it the hard way against Argentina at the World Cup.” France’s axis refers to this victory over the United States in the quarter-finals of the World Cup 2019, before sinking to Argentina in the next match.

During Euro 2003, France also found Italy in a match with double bets: a bronze medal and a ticket to the Athens Games. Transalpines won (85-52) in the group stage, and Tony Parker’s team lost to Italy itself, which avenged (69-67) for this decisive match. No medal, no Olympic blues.

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