Pau (AFP)

Defense first: intractable under its basket during the first two quarters, the French basketball team, without its NBA or Euroleague players, took a step towards Euro-2022 by clearly dominating Great Britain (79-56) Friday in Pau.

The Euro will not be very far in the event of a second success on Sunday against Germany, still in Pau.

In February, the Blues lost in Germany before dominating Montenegro.

The first two of the group, in addition to Germany, automatically qualified as host country, will qualify at the end of the last international window, in February 2021.

The British scored their first basket after five minutes and nine failures ... The Blues had already scored 15 and pleased their coach Vincent Collet who, all week, had insisted on the defense to weld a relatively inexperienced group without them. NBA and Euroleague stars.

Completely stifled by an airtight French defense, the Great Britons finished the first quarter with a ridiculous total of five points and a pathetic 1/15 ... two points!

Offensively, the Blues also ensured, like Amath M'Baye, top scorer (24 points) of the Blues and comprehensive insurance under the semi-circle (6/7 to 2 points).

From a distance, it was Axel Bouteille (15 points) who made the powder speak (5/6 to 3 points) while his near vision was less good (0/3).

At the break, the matter was under control (46-20) and the Blues have logically relaxed in the last two quarters, allowing the British to level the game (17-16 then 19-17).

Mission also fulfilled for the leader and captain Andrew Albicy, the most capped of the group (63 selections), who only served his partners (1/2 on shots).

Like the rebound snatched from Gabriel Olaseni after four minutes to offer a long shot caviar to M'Baye (13-0).

By then the British might have already realized that they would not come back.

"We started the game really well," said M'Baye.

A serious to be repeated on Sunday against Germany, to get even closer to Euro-2022.

© 2020 AFP