The step was a little too high for the Bleues du basket. The French women logically lost to the Belgian Cats, Saturday June 24, in the semi-final of the Eurobasket (67-63) in the Arena Stozice in Ljublana. Overwhelmed from the start by a diligent Belgian team, Jean-Aimé Toupane’s players struggled to get rid of the pressure put on them by their opponents, falling logically behind at the break (44-30) after a marked first period. by the insolent success of the Belgians behind the racket.
Handicapped by a sluggish defense, absent on defensive rebounds, Sandrine Gruda and her teammates seemed overwhelmed by the challenge. A situation, which the tricolor captain, Sarah Michel, lucidly analyzed at half-time: “If we limit offensive rebounds, we are on par with them. »
But on leaving the locker room, if the defensive setbacks of the Bleues disappeared, Belgium, with a workforce perfectly oiled by their coach Rachid Meziane, in turn managed to turn their backs. A strategy made possible by the tireless pivot Emma Meesseman, again author of a major performance (24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 ists).
The end of a series
Les Bleues however knew who they were dealing with, the Belgians arrived in Slovenia with the status of favorites, among the most attractive European teams. By stopping at the last four stage, the French team thus puts an end, just over twelve months before the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, to a series of five consecutive qualifications for the Eurobasket final (2013, 2015 , 2017, 2019, 2021) the European title has escaped French players since 2009. A serious questioning for the Tokyo bronze medalists who had made this Eurobasket their first step towards Olympic gold.
Lucid about the performance of his team, the coach of the French, Jean-Aimé Toupane, drew up a simple observation at the microphone of France 4: “We didn’t do the right thing. We showed in the second half that we could play them. But the game should have started in the first half. We missed a lot of things, on the defensive aspect, we were not up to our standards. »
Victorious on Saturday against Les Bleues, Belgium, in the final for the first time in its Eurobasket history, will face Spain on Sunday evening, who fell earlier in the day against Hungary (69-60). Which will face France the same day, for the gain of the third place.