Well, so much for that Spain vs Team USA final everyone was eagerly anticipating. France put an end to the Spaniards’ run at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, with a shocking 65-52 quarterfinal defeat of the tourney’s hosts.
The French national team shut down Spain’s potent offensive attack, and hung on for a wholly unexpected trip to the semifinals. Per NBA.com:
… Spain was obviously the biggest threat to the USA’s winning streak, now at 43 games after Tuesday quarterfinal win over Slovenia. In fact, Spain looked like the World Cup favorites, with a full roster and a raucous home crowd behind them. Group A was the toughest pool in the tournament, as evidenced by its 4-0 record against Group B in the round of 16, and the hosts rolled through it, beating Brazil, France and Serbia by an average of 19.7 points.
“For Spain, it was not that easy to play against us a second time,” France coach Vincent Collet said afterward. “I think the big spread (24 points) of the first game was something important for us, because it was more motivation. We used it. We showed the players how bad we looked during the first game sometimes.”
“It’s tough sometimes for a team to play at home,” Boris Diaw, who led France with 15 points, said. “I think we had the motivation to win and they had the motivation to not lose.” […] “It was a painful loss, disappointing,” Pau Gasol said. “This team had such high expectations. We had played an incredible tournament up to this point. It just wasn’t our night.”