EFE | DONGGUAN.- The French national team gave the great surprise of the Basketball World Cup in China on Wednesday by winning 89-79 against the United States, defending champion of the title, and achieving the pass to the semifinals, where it will meet Argentina.
The Americans could not cover up this time the attacking deficiencies with which they arrived at the World Cup. His rival was superior at all times, especially with two sensational men like center Rudy Gobert, who overwhelmed the inside game, and shooting guard Evan Fournier, who was in charge of directing the attack. Both combined for 43 points.
Point guard Nando de Colo was also decisive in the final stretch of the match, when the United States forgot to score and after the 76-76 draw they could only add three goals to France's 13.
While shooting guard Donovan Mitchell was inspired, the United States was able to stay in the game, with a comeback in the third quarter. But then the Utah Jazz player went cold too and went scoreless for the entire quarter, which dug the pit of defeat for the defending champions.
The legendary coach Gregg Popovich did not find a way to find the best offensive performance of the United States team and against a rival like France, who found their best game so far in the tournament, there was no longer a "miracle" like the one that occurred with Turkey in the group stage.
The United States, which had not lost in the World Cup or the Olympic Games since 2006, confirmed what many feared, including Popovich himself: that without the stars of the NBA, the team could succumb to the best in Europe.
The loss snapped a 58-game winning streak for the Americans. His last loss in a World Championship was in 2006 against Greece.
Gobert contributed a double-double of 21 points and 16 rebounds, plus two assists and three blocks, while Fournier finished with 22 points, the líder of the team in that facet.
Point guard Nando de Colo was decisive in the final stretch of the match and finished with 18 points.
For the United States, only three players finished with double-digit numbers: Mitchell, 29 goals, líder of the game, and point guards Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker, with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Among the tall men in the United States, Miles Turner, who started, contributed just two points with one rebound. Mason Plumlee and Brooks Lopez combined to go under six minutes and went scoreless.
Too little to cope with the inspiration that the French team had from the start of the game. After forcing a tie at 18-18 in the first quarter, they went into the break with a partial advantage of 45-39, with Fournier and Gobert with 13 points each and the whole team full of intensity.
Only Mitchell, with 15 points, and the defense kept the Stars and Stripes in the game.
Then came the USA's third period comeback, but only thanks, again, to the inspiration of Mitchell, who added another 14 points.
This allowed the reigning world champion to overcome a 10-point deficit (43-53) and take the lead 66-63. At the beginning of the fourth period, his advantage reached seven points (72-65) with a basket by Walker.
But when everything seemed to be favorable for the United States to sentence, the opposite happened, the blockade by their attack and the resurgence again of the best France with a brilliant and decisive De Colo from the free throw line.
The United States leaves the World Cup through the back door and with its worst image in 13 years, a responsibility that can be attributed to the NBA stars who left the team to its fate.
The only compensation for the United States team is that, at least, it is already qualified for the next Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, to which, after the failure of the World Cup in China, the stars of the NBA will surely attend if necessary. who want to defend the title of Olympic champions in Rio de Janeiro 2016.