Starting the Eurobasket against Germany and its 19,000 spectators in the Lanxess Arena in Cologne was nothing short of a gift for the France team. Dreaded, the trap closed on the Blues, defeated at the start, Thursday, September 1, by Germans much more experienced collectively (76-63).
The tone of the evening had been set by the German supporters even before the start of the match. Local legend Dirk Nowitzki was honored at a ceremony to retire the number 14 he wore for the national team. Forty minutes later, the atmosphere had still not subsided thanks to the success of his compatriots.
At the start of the second period, however, the Blues tried to put out the fire. Behind the enthusiastic Guerschon Yabusele, they finally seemed to come out of their offensive torpor by going 8-0 in three minutes. A period where the address seemed to have returned to the tricolor camp and which allowed them to pass in front of the score for the first time since the first quarter (10-9, 8th).
It was just an illusion. After a time-out requested by their coach Gordie Herbert, Germany definitely took off thanks to a fatal 19-4 for the France team (57-43, 30′). There were still ten minutes left to play and Vincent Collet’s men had their heads underwater, without a solution. The last quarter was no exception to the rule.
France takes the water in Cologne against Germany. Imperative reaction against Lithuania on Saturday
➡ EuroBasket France 63 – 76 Germany
– CANAL + Basket (@CanalplusBasket) September 1, 2022
Like their preparation, the trial and error of the offensive game was precisely the red thread of the evening for the Habs. The start of the competition should finally allow the French team to forget the combined absences of Nicolas Batum and Nando De Colo. On the contrary, their offensive talent was sorely missed by the Olympic vice-champions, stuck in the German trap.
From the first minutes, the new captain Evan Fournier and Thomas Heurtel, supposed to embody the creation of the game, chained the loss of bullets (17 in total for France) and missed shots. They never managed to find air in the web woven by the Germans.
With only seven points at 2/10 on shots, the first named clearly missed his entry into the competition. As expected, he was perfectly targeted by the German defence. He never found a relay on the external stations like Elie Okobo, blocked at zero points. The light only came from its interiors, Guerschon Yabusele (18 points) or Rudy Gobert (11 points and 12 rebounds).
Defensively, the France team did not reassure either when it considers this sector as its DNA. Andrew Albicy certainly annoyed Dennis Schröder (11 points at 4/14), but he only spent ten minutes on the floor. Vincent Collet certainly made the choice to sacrifice him to try to solve the equation in attack. In vain.
The preparation, although positive at the accounting level, was not mistaken about the offensive difficulties encountered by a team which must reinvent itself. “No one said it would be easy, reacted Rudy Gobert to the microphone of Canal + Sport 360, after the meeting. I know I’m going to be better, I know the team is going to be better.”
If the qualification is not yet compromised, France will have to react on Saturday, against Lithuania, by effectively showing another face to aim for the initial objective: the gold medal.