Strasbourg (AFP)

Put in difficulty by the Czechs throughout the meeting, the French basketball players finally managed to take the best to win 71 to 51 Friday night in Strasbourg during the group stage of Euro-2021.

The French will play Sunday evening (8.45 p.m.) in a final for first place in the group against Russia, which has, like France, two victories in two matches, with the stakes being first place in the group, the direct ticket to the quarter-finals, without go through the barrage box Monday evening, and two days of rest, not totally uninteresting for a competition which takes place over eleven days (June 17-27).

After the offensive festival against Croatia at the opening of their Euro, the players of Valérie Garnier were more in difficulty by the Czechs, dominating in the racket for a very long time in the meeting.

Finally, the situation began to settle on two award-winning shots from Marine Johannès, in his style so spectacular.

She gave the France team six points at the start of the third quarter (38-32, 23rd), but the Czechs still hung on for a few minutes, making the meeting unbreathable for the nearly 2,500 spectators. present (out of 3,600 authorized) in a Strasbourg Rhenus still suffocating with heat.

With a greater depth of bench, the French ended up making the difference physically to escape the score with 11 points ahead at the start of the last ten minutes (52-41), which they managed to keep and improved by Sandrine Gruda, still as dashing at almost 34 years old with 16 points, and by captain Endy Miyem (11 pts).

The French were still without their titular playmaker, Olivia Epoupa, who twisted her ankle after two minutes against Croatia.

She appeared on the sidelines with her ankle strapped and on crutches and was left to rest for this game against the Czech Republic.

This victory more complicated than the first match against Croatia will probably serve as a reminder to the French, in the march they hope triumphant to Valencia in a week and a half, towards the European coronation.

The French remain on four consecutive defeats in the Euro final (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019), and hope to turn money into gold this year.

© 2021 AFP