beaten by Serbia, Les Bleues are heading for a clash in the quarterfinals

The path to the summits will be rugged for Les Bleues. Beaten by Serbia (62-68), Tuesday, September 27, in the last match of the group stage of the World Cup, the players of the French women’s basketball team complicate the task for the rest of the competition . Already qualified for the quarter-finals, Marine Fauthoux’s teammates (11 points and 4 assists), almost certain not to be seeded, will have to wait for the draw for the quarter-finals, that same day, to know their opponent. But it will be significant: unless the Japanese, already eliminated, win against the Australians at home, the Blues will find on their way either the American scarecrow – which has won all international competitions since 2008 – or China. .

The French knew that a victory against Serbia would open up a more affordable table for them. To prevent teams from being calculating in their game in the last group matches, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has introduced a draw for the final stages, during which the first two of each group are guaranteed to win. face the third or fourth of the other pool. But after their defeat against Canada, Les Bleues conceded a second defeat (in five games) against their biggest continental rivals.

“It will be a fight, we will have to be calm. When we play against them, that’s what we’re missing.” warned the tricolor captain, Sarah Michel, before the meeting. Because the Blues and the Balkan players know each other very well. In 2021, the Serbs won in the final of the Euro, before seeing the teammates of Sandrine Gruda – absent at the World Cup due to injury – win in the match for the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Widely renewed, due to injuries and international retirements, the two teams nevertheless intended to continue their explanations in this crucial match at the Australian World Cup. “When you know the France-Serbia rivalry, it will go very hard, hit from the start, warned Marine Fauthoux. We want to win everything. »

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China or the United States likely in quarters

But against Serbia trained by Marina Maljkovic, daughter of the 1993 European champion on the bench of Limoges Bozidar Maljkovic, the French were unable to reproduce their performance of the day before on Tuesday, against the Japanese Olympic vice-champions (67-53 ). Carried by the leader of American origin Yvonne Anderson (18 points), the Serbs have calmed the ardor of the Blue. Led throughout the game, but coming back into contact with Serbia several times, Jean-Aimé Toupane’s players lost their footing at the end of the second and third quarters.

Once again, the Blues have sinned by their chronic concern since the start of the competition: rebounds. “We play a sport of possession, so when one shot out of two you give the opponent the opportunity to take the ball back, you spend your time defending”, insisted Jean-Aimé Toupane on Monday. With 44 rebounds conceded to the Serbs (including 16 offensive) against only 25 tricolor catches, his troops were largely dominated on Tuesday. And if the game was played in the dying seconds, on an improbable shot from Sasa Cado – until then mute at 3 points – from 9 meters with the board, the Blues left too many opportunities on the way to hope for more.

Deprived of many executives (including Sandrine Gruda, Endy Miyem, Marine Johannes …) for this competition, the partners of Gabby Williams have nevertheless extracted themselves from an extremely tough group and will compete in the quarter-finals of the Australian World Cup. But they are likely to meet the Americans, huge favorites of the tournament, even in the absence of the pivot Brittney Griner, still imprisoned in Russia; or China, which has impressed since the start of the competition.

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