Pop the popcorn… France and Spain in the final, a new page in a glowing struggle

From his couch in Los Angeles, Nicholas Batum never misses a crumb from this Eurobasket. The Blues captain, who has moved past the competition to better prepare for next season with the Clippers, pushes behind his teammates, defending leaderboards Evan Fournier and Rudi Joubert when things swing… and if we are to believe his Twitter account, comes on the verge of cardiac arrest when the Blues returned from Hell, as against Turkey and Italy. Quieter after a semi-final that completely dominated Poland, Normand is already drooling for what awaits the French side on Sunday: a final against old Spain, the nation’s genetic enemy.

“We hate each other but respect each other,” Battom summed up before the quarter-final between the two teams at the 2016 Olympics, which turned into a massacre for the Blues (a 92-67 defeat). Clash among many other things in what constitutes the biggest competition in European basketball. It’s very simple, over the course of 20 years, the two nations have found themselves head-to-head in almost every major competition. With the common denominator of atmosphere “muy caliente”, between the French who are not always very good losers and the Spaniards who master the art of making money.

Among the most burning memories, we will mention three:

  • quarter final London Olympics. In the fourth quarter by a streak, the Blues end up losing their nerve due to seeing the unbearable Navarro, Calderon and Fernandez flounder (simulation) At what cost, dispute, whine, room before hiding in the referee’s skirts. He slashes Batum and sticks one of them to Navarro. “It will give them a good reason to blunder (simulation),” said Jinnah after this narrow defeat (59-66).
  • Semi-finals of the European Championship 2013. There is everything in this match, the false start for the Blues, the legendary screaming of Tony Parker in the first half (It’s 31’45 on the next video), the crazy comeback, the match point for Spain, the stretch and finally “the most beautiful victory in the history of French basketball” (75-72), according to TB, the leader of the rebellion with 32 points. The Blues will then be seeking their first international title against Lithuania.

  • Quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup. Spain, which crushed the Blues in the group stage (88-64), intends to win the World Cup, and it played at home. But in the quarters, the French team, bereft of Tony Parker, Nando de Colo and Joachim Noah, teaches him the lesson. Young Rudy Gobert disgusts Pau Gasol at the racket, and the blues kick off at the end of the match. It’s the famous “THOMAS HEURTEL DONNE MOI TON SHORT” by commentator David Cosette, after a superb three-point shot from the French leader to give the French an 8-point lead with one minute left. absolute foot.

The Spaniards would retaliate a year later by eliminating France in the Euro semi-finals in Lille. In general, moreover, Gilles Gasol kicked the back of the Blues more often than the opposite, and during the last final match so far between the two countries, during Euro 2011, it was Spain that won (98-85). “Spain has the best basketball school, the school that has dominated the continent for 20 years, Vincent Colette admitted on Friday, before knowing the outcome of the other semi-final match. Everyone has tried to challenge this supremacy without always succeeding.”

Certainly, in this year 2022, the landscape has changed a lot on the Spanish side. The Gasol brothers enjoy retirement cocktails, and Ricky Rubio and Sergio Lol are hit. Eight out of twelve players play their first international tournament there. Fortunately, there is still veteran Rudy Fernandez (37), a relic of the fiercest fights who will want to continue the tradition six years after the last standoff. But the blues warmed up well by biting the Poles’ calves for 40 minutes, and they didn’t plan to lower the intensity. Especially against the Spaniards. Part of history will still be shown on Sunday in Berlin. And like all of us, Nicholas Batum will be in front of his TV with popcorn.

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