After the historic feat of Wednesday against the Americans, the Blues know they must not be fooled or take Argentina for a negligible obstacle Friday in Beijing (14:00 French) in the semifinals of the World Basketball.
The Blues have learned the lesson of 2014. They had already created a huge sensation in the quarter-finals by eliminating at home Spain brothers Gasol. But they had missed the next march against the Serbs.
"The risk we know is to be happy, to be reassured by what we have been able to produce and to lose aggression." But in a world semi-final, this is the first quality that 'we must bring on the field,' warned the coach Vincent Collet.
Argentina is in the same dynamic as France. It has also just outlived the predictions by eliminating Serbia, considered the first outsider for the title behind the United States.
- Luis Scola the survivor -
In this selection there is only one representative of the golden generation of Manu Ginobili, who was the first in history to beat a US team 100% NBA World-2002 (but had failed for the title against Yugoslavia), then won Olympic gold in Athens. This is the pivot Luis Scola, still on board at almost 40 years, after ten seasons in the NBA and at least as many international campaigns. Top Argentine scorer (17.8 points), he became during the tournament the second best scorer in the history of the World Cup, behind the legendary Brazilian Oscar Schmidt.
But Argentina has found other talents, such as Facundo Campazzo, one of the best leaders of Euroleague at his post, or strong winger Gabriel Deck, both at Real Madrid. Nevertheless, this selection does not include any NBA player in these ranks against four in the French, and it has cleared a path in a part of the table easier until the shock with the Serbs.
"Their game is to try to be crazy, that's what we'll have to avoid, they'll try to push us into a fast tempo, and we'll have to push them in a type of match that we control more, "said the coach.
France had faced Argentina in a warm-up match at the end of August in Villeurbanne and had largely won (77-58). Nobody suspected then that it would be the opponent of the semifinal.
- Olympic ticket in your pocket -
If they can not be satisfied, the Blues have already fulfilled the goal they had set before the tournament: to qualify directly for the Olympic Games. With Spain, they are the only two Europeans in the last four of this World Cup where several big nations of the Old Continent have failed, especially Serbia and Greece.
It will be a huge advantage in the Olympic podium race not to have to burn energy in a TQO (Qualifying Tournament) in June 2020, just after the NBA season and a month before the Olympics. It was this loss that partly explained the failure of 2016.
Neither players nor coaching want to see further than Friday to avoid underestimating the opponent, the mortal sin of the sportsman. Supporters can, however, take a look until Sunday. In what would be its first World Final, five years after the bronze medal of 2014, France would face either its great rival Spain, who made a faultless run, that is Australia, the only one who beat her for moment, in the second round Monday in Nanjing (100-98).
© 2019 AFP