Vincent Collet (after the victory over Italy): “We deserve this chance” to play a semi-final

Vincent Collet (coach of the France team, qualified in the semi-finals of the Euro after their victory against Italy, 93-85 ap) : “Despite the scenario with the two shots missed by Simone Fontecchio, it was not the same match as against Turkey (87-86 AD). Italy did not have the ball after the throws, like the Turks on Saturday, and we made the comeback before the last second. I think we started well. We developed the defense we wanted. We weren’t giving them a lot of open shots with our screen changes. Unfortunately, we continue to lose too many balls, and that gave them opportunities to stay in the game. Without that we could and perhaps should have been at +13 at the break.

They come back to minus seven, and it’s not the same game anymore. In the third quarter, our level of aggression drops. They have scored 31 points in this period. As in the previous match, the last quarter allowed us to regain our energy, to start making stops again. In the end, we remain the same. We make too many mistakes and we help our opponent, but what cannot be taken away from us is our determination, even in bad times. We know we have to play better, but we are alive. We deserve this chance (to play a semi-final), we gave ourselves the means. »

Thomas Heurtel (leader of the French team) “Our first goal here was to play for a medal today. (Wednesday), We did it. We will play to be on the podium. (On his performance, 20 points) My role in this team is to be an organizer. At the end of the match, our best player in attack (Evan Fournier) was on the bench (out for five fouls). I played with Rudy Gobert, Guerschon Yabusele, Terry Tarpey and Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, who are not really players (to profile) creator, I took my responsibilities and those who know me know that I am not afraid of it. »

Gianmarco Pozzecco (Italy coach): “Congratulations to France who never gave up but I am very proud of my players. I can stop training tonight (Wednesday) or now, but what they did will stay. They showed incredible things in this competition. From day one, from the first practice, they fought to achieve their goals and everyone has to respect that. I suffer for my players, I really suffer. They deserved to keep dreaming. We showed the best basketball of this Euro. Simone Fontecchio (the Italian winger who missed two crucial free throws) will be a star in the NBA (he just signed in Utah). He will probably not sleep tonight but he will also understand what he did in this Euro. For me, he was, by far, the MVP. »

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