The national coach of France’s national basketball team shared his emotions on Monday in Paris, one day after the team’s loss in the championship of the EuroBasket, after returning from Berlin.
Campaign review: It’s a little too soon to take stock at this point. It is still really warm. I retract a bit of my statement. The Euro was a very challenging competition. We came in the second position, behind teams that may claim to be in our place, such as Serbia and Slovenia, as well as a few others that were eliminated in a fairly shocking manner. We were able to make it through the drops without any problems. We were on the verge of elimination in both the round of 16 matches against Turkey and the quarterfinal match against Italy, but we were able to find the resources necessary to advance. There is an element of luck, but there is also an element of self-denial and dedication. After such an impressive win in the semi-finals against Poland, we had high hopes of reaching the apotheosis of our competition. Unfortunately, we didn’t do a very good job of negotiating this match against a side that did a wonderful job of it. There are always two competing teams in a contest. When we do think about the competition, it’s usually not as much as we should… But we can’t deny that Spain was remarkable; they played their finest game of the tournament on D-Day, which was the championship game, while we played our worst game of the tournament on that day. There will invariably be regrets, but you have to be able to learn how to accept defeat while competing against someone more capable than you. The Spaniards were in a stronger position than we were yesterday.
The feeling in the hours after the final :
“It’s not that we ever fully get over it… This too shall pass with time, but in the meanwhile, frustration reigns supreme. After a game for the France team, I hardly ever come away feeling as disheartened as I am right now. For instance, the emotion during the first European final in 2011 (which was also a loss to Spain; editor’s note: see the previous sentence) was nothing at all like it is now. We held out a lot of hope. There was no precedent for Spain competing at this level in the competition, and there was no particular reason why that should have ever occurred. Especially considering that we are a team that, rather than allowing our opponents to play at their level, we rather prohibit them from doing so. There, they are brilliantly transformed into something else. It’s a bitter pill to swallow… They caused us a great deal of frustration by preventing us from carrying out many of our plans and desires. It is difficult, but it is a requirement of the sport, and it is frequently what enables you to get back on your feet… even if you aren’t aware of how it works just yet. A misadventure of this nature may be what will get us one step closer to our goal.
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The weight of the absences of Nando de Colo and Nicolas Batum: They were not successful in all areas, which is to be expected; otherwise, the information they presented to us would not have made any sense. That was something we were aware of before we had even begun. Despite everything, we made an effort to maintain our individuality. Even though it was challenging, we were able to make steady progress throughout the competition. When things finally calmed down, we were in a position to compete for the championship. Not everything went in a positive direction, but neither did everything goes in a negative direction. It was a challenge that needed to be conquered. We were only able to accomplish a portion of it, but even that makes it a success. (…) Inconsistency in either the level of effort or the performance? Not in terms of the level of intensity, but perhaps in terms of the performance. We were quite consistent about the amount of investment and intensity; but, there were some gaps in there. We discussed the number of bullets that were lost and how their absence was felt in this location.
In the final, we played against a much more complete, more organized team, certainly the most intelligent in Europe in the game at the moment, in the way it outwits its opponents and imposes its own.
Decompression after a demonstration in half :
“I do not believe that to be the case. Each contest is a test of relative strength. There was a significant gap between our performance in the semi-final against a club that had very few important players and the great defensive work that our players turned in, which allowed us to go to the final. In the championship match, we competed against a team that was significantly more polished, better organized, and very definitely the most astute in all of Europe in the sport at the moment, in terms of the way it outwits its rivals and enforces its will. Because of this, the distribution of power was completely different. However, the players were motivated and committed; in fact, they wanted it just as much as the rest of us did. However, that is not sufficient. The championship game pits you against the other team that was the best throughout the tournament up to that point, and every light has to be green for you to win. It is not sufficient to be meticulous or determined alone. To triumph over an adversary who has played an outstanding match, you need to possess all of the other attributes necessary for victory. We owe it to them to pay our respects. This is not an easy task for me, but in all honesty, they played an excellent game. (He continues to speak to finish) It is the 33rd minute, we are trailing by seven points, and we have either seven or eight balls lost. The chicks have the same problems with the ball… We also gave up five offensive rebounds, which is five more than we grabbed for ourselves. Only that, and let’s not even talk about everything else. Because of this, the loss cannot be justified in terms of the game that came before it, which was far simpler… When something like that occurs in the championship game, it is very difficult to win. We were able to win our group matches despite losing 18 or 20 balls to opponents who were weaker and less organized. It is hardly conceivable to win against Spain, who has only lost eight or nine games so far.
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The global level of the Euro :
There has been a change in the way the game is played regarding pace. In the past, when we were scouting the teams, we used to discriminate between, for instance, those that favored the fast game and those that focused more on playing on half-courts. It is no longer in existence today. Without a single exception, every single team that we came into contact with is actively moving forward and getting faster and faster. Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece and Nikola Jokic of Serbia, both former NBA Most Valuable Players, were playing for their respective countries during this competition. They emerged in the round of 16 and the quarterfinals with very strong teams surrounding them, even though they had been dominant throughout the competition. This demonstrates the density. The final place that Bosnia and Herzegovina took in our pool was sixth. They prevailed over Slovenia. We played well against them and were victorious, but we were eliminated from the competition just before the start of the tournament in the qualification for the 2023 World Cup. At the Euro, there were a total of 24 teams, but 15 of them posed serious threats. At the point of the eighth-finals, every single person who participated was at a high enough level to win. Our neighbors to the north in Belgium are the only team in the history of the European Championship to have triumphed over Spain (in the pool)… The popularity of basketball is continuing to grow across Europe. In my experience, the level was noticeably higher than it had been in 2017.
The following are statements made during a news conference: