Ahead of France – Poland, look back at the five most important Blues halves at the Euros

The Blues were without a game for Spain who controlled this semi-final of Euro 1999. (LUTTIAU / L’Équipe)

At home, the French team found the last four of the EuroBasket for the first time since 1991. In a full sports hall in Bercy, the Blues faced Spain, not yet their best enemy. Impressive winners of the Iberians during the group stage (74-57), Jean-Pierre de Vincenzi’s men advanced to the semi-finals with positive dynamics. But Spain, carried by Alberto Herreros big nights (29 points), woke up and poured the hope of a first continental final for the Blues. A narrow loss (70-63), prelude to a rivalry that would reach its climax a decade later.

Dimitrios Diamantidis, the man who knocked the Blues out at the halfway point of Euro 2005. (N. Luttiau / L'Équipe)

Dimitrios Diamantidis, the man who knocked the Blues out at the halfway point of Euro 2005. (N. Luttiau / L’Équipe)

This semi-final of Euro 2005 remains one of the most traumatic matches in the history of French basketball. In contrast to Greece, who won the pool (64-50), Tony Parker and his teammates offered a different opposition to the Hellenes in the semis. After a tight encounter, the Blues lead by seven points (62-55) with 47 seconds left after a decisive dunk – so we think – from Boris Diaw. But everything collapsed: two failed throws and a ball lost in TP, the overall efficiency from the Greeks… Returning to a point eleven seconds from the end, the latter waited until the last moment to give the stab to the Blues. Dimitrios Diamantidis, not attacked, poured a three-point shot into the basket. France lost at the buzzer, 67-66.

3. France – Russia 2011 (79 – 71): liberation

Often missing their big meetings until now, the generation of Parker is approaching this semi-final of Euro 2011 with the pressure to qualify for the London Olympics without going through the qualifying tournament and to prove that he is not cursed. After the Greek trauma in 2005, the Blues failed sharply in the quarterfinals against Russia in 2007 (75-71). But in 2011, it was time for revenge. In Lithuania, France won against Greece in the quarter (64-56) and found in the half … Russia.

Nicolas Batum was the man of the match during the victory of the Blues in the semi-final against Russia.  (MARTIN/The Team)

Nicolas Batum was the man of the match during the victory of the Blues in the semi-final against Russia. (MARTIN/The Team)

Led by a leader Tony Parker (22 points) and a young Nicolas Batum (22 years old, 19 points, 7 rebounds) who was named man of the match, the Habs won (79-71), making -qualify for their first Euro final and for the Games. A release for Parker: “ There were tears in my eyes at the end of the game. I was so happy…I jumped into the arms of my brothers, my family, French reaction at the end of the meeting. We are at the Olympics! I’ve been chasing that for eleven years. It’s hard to put my happiness into words, when you’ve had so many difficulties, so many losses that it’s hard to accept. There, this year, we took revenge on the Greeks and then on the Russians. Little by little, we were able to improve, to play like a good team. »

4. France – Spain 2013 (75 – 72, ap): the most legendary

Defeated by Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 2009, in the final of Euro 2011 and in the quarter-finals of the 2012 Games, the French team faced its opponent again in the last four of EuroBasket 2013. And the score of halftime did not give itself to optimism: completely overwhelmed, the Blues led by fourteen points (20-34). Tony Parker, author of fourteen of France’s twenty points, then launched into a speech that became famous: ” They dominate us because they think we are shit, it can be seen on their faces..

Completely renewed when they returned from the locker room, Vincent Collet’s men began a crazy comeback. On a mission to win a first trophy in the blue jersey, Parker led his team to the end of extra time, scoring 32 points. France won 75-72 and went on to win against Lithuania in the final.

Pau Gasol was the great architect of Spain's victory in the semi-final against France in Euro 2015. (R. Martin/L'Équipe)

Pau Gasol was the great architect of Spain’s victory in the semi-final against France in Euro 2015. (R. Martin/L’Équipe)

In 2015, the Blues found their Spanish rival for a new confrontation, which turned into a classic. After 2013, France doubled its bid for the 2014 World Cup by winning the quarter against the Iberians in Madrid (62-52). A year later, it was at home, at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Lille, that France once again crossed paths with Spain. At stake: direct qualification for the Rio Games. The 2013 scenario seems to have reversed. The Blues led by eleven points midway through the third quarter, before seeing their opponents slowly claw their way back, leading by three points with twenty seconds left. Saved by an award-winning shot from Batum and a block from Rudy Gobert, France won extra time. However, led by an unsustainable Pau Gasol (40 points), La Roja rained down on France at home (80-75 ap.)

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