It took little for France to accompany Slovenia and Spain among the big surprises of the day. After counting up to 15 points ahead of Hungary, the Blues got a good scare, seeing their opponent come back to -2 with the ball in hand 30 seconds from the end. David Vojvoda thus has an opportunity to put the Hungarians through with a 3-point shot 22 seconds from time.
More fear than harm on arrival since his attempt did not find the target and the French got away with a short but precious success (78-74). Despite everything, when remaking the film of the match, coach Vincent Collet could not hide this turning point.
A question of state of mind
“We were indeed very close to disaster. When we only had a 2-point lead, the ball that Andrew stole was not at all easy to get. It could have been a basket, and it could have been even worse than it was in this case. Despite everything, we do not find ourselves more sheltered in the end since everything can still happen afterwards. We have to react clearly against opponents who will be superior at the end of the group stage against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia., did he declare after the meeting.
Vincent Collet had reason to be annoyed by the course of the match, especially the day after a rather encouraging performance against Lithuania by the Sabonis-Valanciunas pair.
“What I said to the players is that the night before I had the impression that we had started to build our team and finally started our European championship. And tonight, we deconstructed it,” he added. “Beyond the result and the inglorious way, there is the behavior that we may have had. We lacked enthusiasm, freshness, we get frustrated quickly and we show it moreover. It’s not acceptable, we have to react very quickly, and even independently of basketball. We had shown a completely different face the day before, it seemed to be gone, and we relapsed this evening. Our behavior was not up to the situation”.
Moments of tension
Symbol of this frustration, the lively exchange between Thomas Heurtel and Rudy Gobert at the end of the game, which testifies to this lack of serenity in the tricolor ranks. At this point in the match, it took little for the France team to completely lose ground.
Also present at a press conference, Rudy Gobert took the opportunity to put out the start of the fire.
“It’s a little feud, it happens, with adrenaline and games, there are times when it’s hot, and this was one of those times. It’s still things that stay in the locker room, between us. Our mindset is always to play together, and to win.” explained the pivot. “With Thomas, we’ve been playing together for years, and sometimes the blood is hot, but it comes from the spirit of competition, the desire to win, to do well. Tonight, there are times when we felt we should have played better, it can lead to frustration. These are things that are settled between two human beings”.
Same story for Vincent Collet, much more concerned about the attitude of his team on a general level. “It’s not the most striking fact of the evening, it’s more general than that”he concluded.