The French national basketball team once again cut an impressive path through the European championship all the way to silver, winning a 7th international medal for their coach Vincent Collet.
Regularity in the international arena
It’s true that they failed to achieve the ultimate feat with a victory in the final against Spain, the long-standing adversaries and recurring nemesis of the French team, but it’s equally true that they can be proud of their majestic performance during the EuroBasket 2022 championship despite losing once again to La Roja (88-76). And we’re tempted to write “yet another majestic performance” considering the remarkable regularity displayed by Collet's players in major international competitions, exemplified in the outstanding performance delivered in the semi-final against Poland with the largest point spread ever achieved at this level of competition in a European championship (95-54). Rudy Gobert and his players are the only team in the 21st century – along with their outstanding Spanish opponents, of course – to have reached the podiums of the three major competitions: the World Cup, the Olympics, and the Euro. The French men claimed bronze at the World Cup in 2019, reached the final of the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year before winning this latest silver medal. This record makes Vincent Collet a coach who has claimed 7 medals in these major competitions in his 13-year career at the head of Les Bleus. And this medal will certainly rank in this brilliant career as one of the most thrilling achievements, considering the intense emotions generated by the match.
The coach’s proficiency and cool composure
At a press conference, the coach quoted the doctor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.” Indeed, it’s the team’s collective strength and shared experience that have enabled it to bounce back from inextricable situations. This was particularly true in two totally crazy games: the round-of-16 match against Turkey (which the French won 87-86 in extra-time) and the quarterfinal against Italy (93-85 in extra-time). These were two games when the French were trailing their adversaries just a few seconds before the end but where their strength of character and their coach’s proficiency and cool composure changed the final outcome. One moment in particular comes to mind in the match against Turkey where the French were one point down. During the timeout at just 1”15’ from the end, Vincent Collet advised his players to adopt a combination with Evan Fournier that the player would concretize as anticipated by his coach... at the very last second of possession when he scored with his left hand and a rebound on the board.
It's understandable that the players and coach find it hard to stomach their loss against Spain in the final where, each time, their efforts to stage a comeback were frustrated by lost balls. But, when the disappointment has been forgotten, they will remember the fantastic moments shared during this incredible competition where their cast-iron defense, their collective strength, and their sheer talent enabled them to win yet another medal in a major championship. The sign of a very great team.
Proud to be a major partner of the French Basketball Federation (FFBB) since the summer of 2014, the Caisse d'Epargne shared the intense thrills of the French team’s performance during this tournament. It enabled supporters to dream, hope and experience a wealth of intense emotions. So, congratulations and thank you for this magnificent performance!
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