Miracles follow one another: French basketball players snatched their qualification for the semi-finals of the 2022 Basketball Euros on Wednesday September 14 by defeating Italy (93-85) during extra time in Berlin.
“It’s been twice now”blew the captain, Evan Fournier, who scored 17 points during the game. “We have to stop having this air gap during which we do nothing”he added in reference to the disastrous third quarter of the Blues.
The dream of Vincent Collet’s men to conquer the continental title remains intact. And here they are for the third time in a row in the semi-finals of a major tournament, after the bronze medal of the World Cup-2019 and the silver of the Tokyo Games last summer.
The Blues, Olympic vice-champions, will face in the semi-finals, Friday at 5:15 p.m., Slovenia or Poland. These two teams meet on Wednesday evening from 8:30 p.m.
However, once again, they no longer had their destiny in their hands. Like Turkey’s Cedi Osman on Saturday, Simone Fontecchio – who scored 21 points – missed the two free throws that could have put the Azzurri away sixteen seconds from the buzzer (77-75). And like Saturday, the Blues offered themselves a five-minute extension by equalizing on their last possession (77-77).
If miracles follow one another, so do air pockets in the third quarter. A 17-3 conceded (from 53-45 to 56-62) allowed the Italians to take the lead for the first time in the match. “In five minutes, there was everything, loss of balls, no withdrawal, no rebounds”listed Evan Fournier.
Two steps away from a potential title, Vincent Collet’s men are already European champions in lost balls in this tournament (nearly 16 per match on average), their ” Fishing “, pointed out Vincent Collet – a sin confessed but still not corrected.
The Blues offered too much candy to the Italians (17 loss of balls before extra time) while depriving themselves of shots. They owe their survival for a lot to their leader Thomas Heurtel, who signed a great game, author of 20 points and 8 assists.