The French women’s basketball team starts its Olympic tournament with an embarrassing defeat on Tuesday in the race to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Like their male counterparts, they were particularly expected. But unlike the teammates of Rudy Gobert, winners of Team USA for their entry into the running , the French women’s basketball team missed its entry into the Olympic tournament on Tuesday, July 27, against the host country, Japan. And if the invincible Americans will cross the road of the training of Valérie Garnier on the occasion of the third group game, the Blue have already shot themselves a hell of a ball in the foot by bowing from the start , 74 to 70, against Japanese women transcended by the event.
Yet it had all started so well. At least, the French, who are aiming for the Olympic podium, played their basketball for a long time, dominating a Japanese selection in the coup but quickly and logically behind (17 to 13 in the 1st quarter). Under the impetus of a Sandrine Gruda still as important, both at the post with 18 points and 9 rebounds, as in the defensive energy, the Blue then gave the impression of managing the game quietly, even if they were only leading two points, only, at the break (36-34).
Above all, France, which shone intermittently, seemed not to have accelerated yet, and its opponent, probably asleep so far, was not necessarily threatening. It was just an impression, bad, so much the sequel turned this surprise tricolor selection upside down like never before.
In front of the rising sun, France is extinct
The Japanese came back from the locker room with very different intentions. With this strength to win and this supplement of soul that is sometimes inexplicable but so fatal when, suddenly, all the planets are aligned. By inflicting a terrible 8-0 to France, Japan, under the leadership of Rui Machida (7 points and 11 assists) on fire, thus took control of the meeting. Suddenly, and like a limited and borrowed Johannes Marine (6 points 38% on shots in 15 minutes of play), the systems collapsed on the side of the French. And above all, the defense in the distance literally exploded under the Japanese warheads (11 baskets out of 27 at three points!).
Like a symbol, 29 seconds from the end, it is precisely on a three-point shoot that the Japanese leader, Moeko Nagaoka (11 points), extinguished all the hopes of the Blue. While France was on the right track by insisting inside on the qualities of its pivot Sandrine Gruda, the French selection ended up scuttling. Thus leaving Japan, at home, the right to dream, while the Blue, Olympic vice-champions in London in 2012 and semi-finalists in Rio four years later, will have to recover, with the manner, against Nigeria on Friday 30 July. Otherwise, the United States, in a week, could well spell the death knell of these Blue already back to the wall.