Hard to recover from such a performance. The French know it: after eliminating the Americans, triple Olympic champions and two reigning world champions, in the quarterfinals of the basketball World Cup, the hardest may be to get back into the bath.
The win against the United States (89-79) is historic, but it was "only" a quarterfinal. The Blues must now face Argentina, Friday at 14 h (French time) in Beijing, for a place in the final of the World Cup.
"I said to the guys, 'No joy, we do not show anything, because we did not do anything, we did a big quarter against a huge team, we did a feat, but we did not No medals around the neck, we can be happy but at midnight and one minute, we go to Argentina ', "said French team captain Nicolas Batum, after the victory against the Americans .
>> Read: Basketball World: France creates a surprise against the United States and makes it to the semifinals
The Charlotte Hornets player recalls that during the previous World Cup, in 2014, the Blues had already caused a sensation in the quarterfinals by eliminating Spain, then Olympic vice champion and who played in front of his public, before losing in semi-final against Serbia.
"In the old days, we could do things like that, then lose our focus, this year it's something we do not want to do," promised pivot Rudy Gobert, the great man of victory over United States.
Gobert and Fournier, leaders of the Blues
Voted best NBA defenseman in the last two seasons, Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz's 2.16m, should once again be able to win against an Argentinian team whose greatest player, Marcos Delia, does not culminates "only" to 2.06 m.
In addition to Rudy Gobert, the Blues will be worn by Evan Fournier, who realizes in China his best performance since he wears the tricolor jersey. The offensive leader of the team with 21 points per game, the back of the Orlando Magic has impressed observers throughout the competition, being as comfortable to enter the basket as to shoot long distance.
>> Read: Rudy Gobert, the French basketball player growing in the NBA
Nevertheless, the task is going to be difficult against a team from Argentina who also beat the odds by eliminating in the previous round Serbia (97-87), considered before the competition as the first outsider for the title, behind United States.
His golden generation - Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Andres Nocioni and Pablo Prigioni - who won the Olympic title in 2004, a silver medal at the 2002 World Cup and a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics, is now part of the retirement. With the exception of Luis Scola who continues, at 39 years and with ten NBA seasons in the legs, to make the beautiful days of Albiceleste. The interior, which spins at 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, has also become during the tournament the second highest scorer in the history of the competition, behind the legendary Brazilian Oscar Schmidt.
"Their game is to try to put some madness"
Around Scola, Argentina can count on two Real Madrid players: Facundo Campazzo (13.8 points, 8.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds) and winger Gabriel Deck (12.3 points) ), able, each in their own way, to ignite a part.
"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 ", warned the French coach, Vincent Collet.
The Blues had already faced Argentina in preparation at the end of August, in Villeurbanne, with an easy win to the key (77-58). But no one expects a similar scenario on Friday.
The other semifinal will oppose, Friday at 10 am (French time), Spain to Australia. This will be the revenge of the "small final" of the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, in which the Spaniards had beaten the Australians by a small point.
Spain is a regular on the podium at the world level. World champion in 2006, Olympic vice-champion in 2008 and 2012, bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games, this team has the experience to go to the end and star players like Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Juan Hernangomez or Rudy Fernandez.
Conversely, the Boomers are still looking for a first podium for this talented generation of five NBA players: Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova and Andrew Bogut. Unbeaten, like the Spaniards, since the beginning of the competition, the Australians have notably dropped the French (100-98) in the second group stage. They had also beaten the United States (98-94) in preparation.