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Basketball: solid if not brilliant, the Blues already have one foot in Euro 2025

It wasn't easy, but the main thing is: the French team won in Tuzla against Bosnia-Herzegovina (64-74) this Monday, during qualifying for Euro 2025.

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Basketball: solid if not brilliant, the Blues already have one foot in Euro 2025

It wasn't easy, but the main thing is: the French team won in Tuzla against Bosnia-Herzegovina (64-74) this Monday, during qualifying for Euro 2025. Second victory in two matches for the Tricolores, winners of Croatia (73-61) Friday, in Brest, for what represented their first match since the fiasco at the World Cup.

Despite a suspenseful skill at three points (23.8%) and throws (61.3%), not to mention the 15 ball losses, Vincent Collet's players made their defense speak to win, as often, limiting for example Real Madrid star Dzanan Musa at 15 points at 5/13 on shots. In total, only 40.4% on shots for the Bosnians, including 15.8 from distance (!), and no less than 18 ball losses in this (very) choppy match (32 fouls to 28). Four French players with 10 points or more, Gerschon Yabusele (16 pts, 9 rbs), Vincent Poirier (13 pts, 8 rbs), Matthew Strazel (11 pts) and Paul Lacombe (10 pts). His statistics don't say it, with 1 point, 2 assists and 3 interceptions, but captain Andrew Albicy was very valuable this Friday, with a /- at 11 to demonstrate it, the second of the Blues after Poirier (17). A rare enough fact in basketball to be highlighted: France won all four quarters.

Coach Collet was hoping for an improvement in attack, he must have been disappointed with the start of his players. In fact, both teams were failing in this area. Little skill, whistle blows, loss of ball... Boisterous and laborious. Bosnia, however, managed to get going, taking advantage in particular of the French largesse inside (15-9), but France took the lead after the first quarter thanks to increases from Francisco and Strazel (15-16 at the end of the 1st QT). Hifi was entitled to his first minutes in Blue, and soon to his first points, in this increasingly choppy match. With Cordinier inspired in attack, France, solid in defense and taking advantage of the extreme clumsiness of its hosts at long range, raced in the lead (27-33) and finished in front at half-time (32-34 MT). Not brilliant but sufficient so far, especially since local star Musa was limited to 5 small points at 2/8, including 1/6 at three points.

We started again on the same bases at the restart, but the Blues clearly tightened the screw in defense, which allowed them to fuel the attack and take off (34-47). Classic. What an impact from Poirier and Albicy, the former PL players. Note the entry into play of Jaylen Hoard, his first in Blue.

However, Collet's players were not out of the woods. Far from there. They began to stutter with their basketball and crack at the start of the fourth quarter. Fouls, turnovers, missed baskets... Which had the gift of setting the room on fire (54-57). Bosnia also made multiple mistakes but France lacked too many shots to take advantage (55-60). The shots, however, were the only thing that came in: not a French basket in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter! Poirier restarted the machine, soon imitated by Yabusele, and Bosnia finally gave up (59-73, then 64-74 final score). Next qualifying matches for the Euro? In November. Until then, coach Collet's Blues will be expected at the 2024 Olympics, near Lille and Paris.

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