The national team of France (Les Blues) won the bronze medal this Sunday during the 2019 World Basketball Championship by defeating the Boomers, current FIBA Asia champion with score 67-59 in game played at the Wukesong Sports Arena in Beijing.
The fight for bronze between the teams of France and Australia went to death. Australia was dominating the game during the first half, but France managed to overcome spectacularly in the last part.
Although the Boomers lost, this has been the best performance of the Australians in the history of the World Cups. Australia entered the game determined to keep the bronze and finish third in the world rankings, however the French were also determined to confirm their talent on the court.
The previous meeting between the two teams to reach the semifinals in this championship was on September 9. In the group L match, the Australians beat the French 100-98. Finally the exciting game was decided in free throws marked by Matthew Dellavedova and Mitch Creek.
First part: a lot of pressure from both teams
Aron Baynes, the center of the Australian team summed up what the game would be from his perspective in one sentence: “I have three words for you, nothing more; no questions, nothing: regroup, refocus, revitalize.”
At the start of the game, the Australian team won the rebounds and the first pitches which gave them a 5-0 lead in the first two minutes. The French response was swift and managed to score several points quickly. But Patty Mills again managed to score 2 points to put Bommers forward.
The players of both teams had the pressure of expectations and the emotionality of hope to make a good game. What came next were mistakes, errors, turnovers and a technical failure of Frenchman Rudy Gobert missing 5:31.
To increase the offensive game and trace the numbers of the French team, Les Blues coach Vincent Collet made two replacements just like Andrej Lemanis, the head coach of the Aussies. The scoreboard however remained unchanged in the next two minutes.
Until the end of the first quarter of the game there were no shocks and the score was favorable to the Australians by 16 – 11. The boomers stood out in the free throws while the French had no effectiveness.
Beginning the second quarter, Joe English scored a triple. The next seven minutes were not very relevant, although Vincent Poirier and Louis Labeyrie tried.
Second part: The austral defeat
The start of the second part of the game foreshadowed the end. Despite the fact that after the first 5 minutes, Bommers maintained a 14-point advantage by having made a more effective game. That was when the Australian player Chris Goulding missing 4:55 committed an unsportsmanlike foul and from there everything changed.
The French had a spectacular recovery. Three and a half minutes were enough for Les Bleus to move forward. With 1:31 minutes left in the third quarter, the Australian advantage was reduced to just 2 points (42-44). Batum, Fournier, Poirier and De Colo fired and struck from all positions.
Nothing stopped the momentum of Les Blues, not even the two dead times requested by Andrej Lemanis, the head coach of the Aussies. The fourth quarter ended in time with a score of 21-18 in favor of the French.
In the fourth quarter, De Colo’s triple followed by several free throws achieved a draw for the French and then Les Blues went ahead. They were exciting and pendular minutes. The fight became fierce between both teams.
At the end of the game De Colo was the hero, of course Batum, Poirier and Albicy did the same by helping to overcome, tie and win the lead to finally conquer the bronze. While Ingles and Dellavedova shone on the court, Mills and Baynes disappeared completely from the match.
Less mistakes and more baskets
The French dominance in the last part was clear and decisive. They won in triples and steals. Although both teams pressed until the end, trying to take advantage of the mistakes and losses of the other’s ball.
Australia lost but gained respect on the court. It had an admirable day, a battle that fought with claw until the end. Les Bleus, meanwhile, recovered and knew how to make his victory from behind at the peak of the game.
The French in the end made fewer mistakes than their opponent and won a sweaty and well-won victory 67-59.
After this brilliant match, the national teams of Argentina and Spain met in the final with the triumph of the European team 97-75, to be crowned world basketball champion 2019.