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Euro: France eliminates Italy on a new miracle

After winning its last ten matches against Italy, France can afford a place in the semi-finals of the Euro, in case of eleventh victory in a row. But the selection trained by the eccentric Gianmarco Pozzecco does not necessarily represent a reassuring draw for Vincent Collet’s troops, despite recent domination, since their opponents are confident after an admirable performance against Serbia in the previous round.

France can’t really say the same, given that they got their ticket to the Top 8 in rather incredible conditions, against Turkey…

The sight is adjusted from the start

Anyway, the momentum is largely in France’s favor when the match begins. Ideally launched by an aggressive and skilful Evan Fournier, who scored 9 of his team’s first 11 points, the tricolor troop started strong and quickly gained momentum. We particularly appreciate the external address: 6/8 from 3-pointers in the first quarter, against 4/11 for Italy. In the radius of disappointments: the (too) usual ball losses, four in the first ten minutes, but also the (too) many offensive rebounds left to opponents.

Wasted ammunition, which allows Italy not to be too far behind at the end of the first quarter (27-20). The rise of Simone Fontecchio (8 points) throughout this first act is not unrelated either.

The rest of the first half is less convincing. The two formations register only eleven points, and the gap at the break is therefore still seven lengths (38-31). As far as France is concerned, the good attacking rhythm of the first quarter is completely lost because of the loss of the ball, again and again (11 at halftime). For comparison, the Italians have only five over the same period, but unlike France are particularly clumsy behind the arc (5/18). Everyone has their big weak point in this first half, finally…

The now sadly usual air hole of the third act…

On returning from the locker room, the nightmare of the match against Turkey was repeated: the Blues missed out on the great widths in the third quarter. The flaws are above all defensive, since the French players collect 31 points in ten minutes, against an Italian squad which can count on the awakening of some of its executives, like Luigi Datome or Achille Polonara. Vincent Collet’s men continue to shoot themselves in the foot in attack, with again and again these stray bullets…

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And so, as in the match against Serbia in the previous round, Italy even took control of the score at the end of the third quarter, after a big passage in the last moments. Here, a “run” of 9-0 which gives a six-point advantage to the “Squadra Azzurra” (62-56) after the half hour of play has elapsed.

Fontecchio as Osman

At the start of the last quarter, France is dangerously close to ten points behind, and the knockout doesn’t even seem very far away, after two winning shots from Simone Fontecchio and Marco Spissu…

But the tricolor revolt was not long in coming, notably through Thomas Heurtel, who planted two oh so important 3-point shots in the “money-time”. The former Real Madrid leader even scored the lay-up for the equalizer five seconds from the end of regulation time, after a 0/2 from Simone Fontecchio on the free throw line on the previous possession! And so, in a scenario that very much resembles that of the match against Turkey, France snatch the extension in the final moments of regulation time (77-77)…

Thomas Heurtel continues to take responsibility in the extra period of play, and adds 8 precious points. Evan Fournier comes out for five faults, but France regains control of the match, and manages to chain the defensive stops that make the difference. As against Turkey, Rudy Gobert is huge under the panels.

Despite turbulence at the end of the game, the Blues do not crack and tear, mental and wear, their qualification for the next round (93-85). It will be against Slovenia or Poland, this Friday.

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At the game of being scared, this French team is definitely the strongest…

France Shots Bounces
Players Minimum 2pts 3 points LF Off Def Early pd party Int bp CT Points
Elie Okobo 04:14 0/1 0/0 0/0
Amath Mbaye 03:18 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 1 1 2
Timothe Luwawu-cabarrot 18:26 1/2 3/4 2/2 1 1 2 1 2 1 13
Thomas Heurtel 31:50 4/7 4/7 0/1 1 1 8 4 1 3 20
Guerschon Yabusele 41:42 2/4 3/8 2/2 2 5 7 2 2 3 15
Evan Fournier 33:03 3/8 3/9 2/2 3 3 3 5 3 17
Theo Maledon
Vincent Poirier 05:19 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 1 1 1 2 1
Andrew Albicy 13:05 0/0 0/1 0/0 2 1 1
Terry Tarpey 34:22 3/3 0/0 2/3 1 7 8 2 1 1 1 1 8
Rudy Gobert 34:25 8/10 0/1 3/4 1 13 14 2 4 1 4 19
Moustapha Fall 05:16 0/1 0/0 1/2 1 1 1 1 1
Italy Shots Bounces
Players Minimum 2pts 3 points LF Off Def Early pd party Int bp CT Points
Marco Spissu 31:11 3/7 4/5 3/3 1 2 3 2 4 1 21
Nico Mannion 08:48 2/5 0/2 0/0 2 2 1 1 1 1 4
Paul Biligha 04:01 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 1 2
Stefano Tonut 18:18 2/5 0/3 0/0 1 1 2 2 1 4
Nicolo Melli 34:03 3/5 0/2 4/5 3 1 4 7 5 2 1 1 10
Simone Fontecchio 35:11 3/8 4/7 3/6 5 5 2 1 1 2 21
Amedeo Vittorio Tessitori
Giampaolo Ricci 13:15 2/3 0/1 0/0 1 1 1 4
Tommaso Baldasso
Achille Polonara 36:46 4/7 0/3 1/1 1 5 6 1 2 1 9
Alessandro Pajola 26:27 0/1 0/1 0/0 2 2 5 2
Luigi Datome 17:00 0/2 4/9 0/0 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 12

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