Euro Basketball: France in Quarters by the Fast Lane

Euro Basketball: France in Quarters by the Fast Lane 1

French basketball players qualified for the quarter-finals of the Euro by beating Sweden (71-65) on Sunday, June 30, 2019, in Riga.

The French basketball players took the most direct route for the Euro basketball quarter-finals by winning their third win in three games over Sweden, 71-65 , Sunday 30th June 2019 in Riga (Latvia).

France will now fly to Belgrade, where, on Thursday, the first major event of the tournament, probably against the Belgians, awaits them. It will be an opportunity for them to take their revenge on the quarterfinal lost last year at the World Cup.

Belgium, the rising nation in continental basketball, still has to go through a barrage after defeating Serbia on Sunday, but it will be largely favourite against Slovenes.

Already victorious Czechs (74-61) and Montenegrins (88-53), the French have spared a barrage and granted an extra day of rest by mastering the Scandinavians, a team driven by a fellow countryman, François Gomez.

Effective in defence as in attack

The key to the victory was the defence, including that of Sandrine Gruda who won her indoor duel against the best Swedish, Amanda Zahui. One of the most experienced at 32, she was also the most effective attack (16 points, including 12 in the first period), confirming its rise to power after being hampered by an injury in preparation.

France's Sandrine Gruda (c) and Sweden's Amanda Zahui (g) in the 71-65 French victory at the Euro in Riga on June 30, 2019.
France’s Sandrine Gruda (c) and Sweden’s Amanda Zahui (g) in the 71-65 French victory at the Euro in Riga on June 30, 2019. (© afp / AFP / Ilmars ZNOTINS)

Quickly in the lead (+8 after a quarter-time), the Blues have always kept a small mattress ahead thanks to Valerian Ayayi (12 points) and the leaders Olivia Epoupa (10 points) and Bria Hartley (13 points), but they have not managed to get permanently safe because of an address sometimes average to the image of Marine Johannès (0 points).

“The first intermediate goal is accomplished. We won a few days off and that’s fine. We still have the little cute sin of the rebound to settle (44 to 32 for the Swedes), we give them second chances, “commented Captain Endy Miyem (8 points) at the microphone of Canal Plus.

Finalist of the last three editions, France aims for gold. It must imperatively finish in the first six to keep the road of the Tokyo Games open.

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