The responses of the members of the French national basketball team following their team’s victory against Italy (93-85 ap) in the quarterfinals of the European Championship on Wednesday in Berlin are described below.
“It’s a significant triumph,” said Rudy Gobert, the pivot for the French squad, following their victory over Italy in the quarterfinals of the European Championship by a score of 93-85. At the end of regulation time, we once again put ourselves in a really tough position for ourselves; we were behind by seven points with two minutes left to play… This time, we did not recognize each other on the airplane; there was no time for it (smile ). We were aware that we still had the opportunity to halt and score. That is exactly what transpired. We improved our defensive play, made some baskets, and grabbed an extension on the contract. After that, we proceeded in the same manner as before. (…) It is something that comes from the heart. Heart and balls, in the words of Vincent Collet, the coach of the France national football team (editor’s note: (smile). A significant number of people, given these circumstances, would choose to give up. We are the polar opposite of it. In these kinds of circumstances, we can raise our level because we can sublimate ourselves. But if you want to be the team that you want to be, you have to have that mentality not only when you’re in a hopeless situation, but also when you’re leading by 12 points to establish a 20-point gap between you and your opponent. Only then can you say that you’ve arrived where you want to be. After that, the contest goes in a different direction… (…) The experience of victory inherently instills confidence. We have reached the halfway point of the euro. I hope that we have confidence in ourselves and that people see Italy as a legitimate team. It was certainly no fluke that they were able to eliminate Serbia (in the round of 16)… Together, they bring an enormous amount of energy, and each of them has a distinct playing style. We came dangerously close to paying the penalty, but we were able to improve our game when it was essential and pursue this victory.
Evan Fournier (back): “Are you content with the new response that the Blues gave at the very end? Yes, but there are some challenges involved (smile). I would appreciate it if we could eliminate the empty spaces in our matches and keep playing… We were in complete control of the game, but our performance significantly declined from the third to the fourth quarter. On the other side, it demonstrates the resilience of our character, as we do not give up easily. We were in complete control of the game, but the Italians were still in it. The only thing that is required is for the other team to get hot and for us to start losing balls, and then the trend will be reversed… Where is Thomas Heurtel? He took us to the finish line, and he was one of the few people who brought creation into being. He had a very important match. It’s the Thomas that we have come to adore. In addition to this, he possesses a certain amount of craziness, since he can score three points and make extremely good passes. He is the most important player in the game.
Thomas Heurtel, the leader, said, “Those who know me are aware that I enjoy these times and that I do not shy away from taking responsibility. Evan Fournier, who is our best offensive player, was sitting on the bench because he had five fouls. I made an effort to take control of the situation myself. Rudy had a fantastic performance in terms of his rebounding. Gershon and Terry, along with the rest of the players on the field… At the very end of the game, we displayed a lot of strength of character. Miraculous? Not at all; things are done differently tonight. Because he (Cedi Osman) missed the shots, it was almost like a miracle that we won the game against Turkey. This evening, we displayed a strong sense of character at the end of the fourth quarter and during overtime. We played on their weak points, namely with (Nicolo) Melli who had four faults after the match, and showed seriousness, organization, and the ability to take strokes. In the end, we showed both seriousness and intelligence. Do you feel confident heading into the semi-finals? I have no idea, but it seems like we’ve turned things around pretty nicely in the latter two games we’ve played. Since the beginning of the competition, there have been several unexpected outcomes, the most recent of which is the elimination of Greece and Serbia. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Poles will pull off an upset (against Slovenia) and that we’ll meet them again in the semifinals.
Read also: “still miraculous,” the Blues beat Italy to end the tension and advance to the semifinals of the EuroBasket.
Gershon Yabusele (strong winger): “It was a battle… We were aware of it, but we didn’t give up since we enjoy being afraid… It was fantastic in every way! Even so, he missed two throws (both Simone Fontecchio and Ceci Osman in the eighth round versus Turkey, editor’s note). Because we didn’t give up and because we kept our focus, we were able to pull off a pretty impressive victory. A little bit of fun? Sure. We support one another, we try to challenge one another, and when one of us messes up, the others are there to pick us back up and push us forward. We must work together during times like these since that is when we truly feel like a team. What are the essential ingredients for reversing the current trend? It’s our fortitude, it’s the gnac, we’re aggressive, we help each other, and when one of us is a bit less into the thing, we push each other. How can we make things better? Recognizing that there is always a period of vulnerability in the third quarter, maintaining unity, and analyzing both the game and our performance will help us identify areas in which we can make improvements. (when speaking into the microphone at Canal +)