The curse continues for the French basketball players: for the fifth consecutive time in a European Championship, they failed on the last step in the quest for a third continental title, beaten 63-54 by Serbia, Sunday June 27 in the evening, in Valencia, in the final of Euro-2021.
Money again, and it was not the expected metal. At the final buzzer, the faces of Endy Miyem’s teammates were very logically closed, hands on hips and bowed heads contrasting with the joy of the Serbs, crowned for the second time in their history as European champions, each time dominating the France in the final.
For the players of Valérie Garnier, this fifth silver medal in a row after 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 really tastes very bitter, as they had set themselves the goal of seeking the European title and finally succeeding the “12 golden girls” from 2001 and “Robbers” 2009.
It is not yet for this year, the fault of a failed final, taken by the wrong end by French women failing in attack, like the sparkling and molten captain Endy Miyem in the semi-finals against Belarus (24 points ), but extinguished Sunday (2 points) by the suffocating defense of the Serbs.
“It’s complicated to end up like that”
“We wanted this gold medal, it was a clear goal for us from the start. It’s complicated to end up like this. They managed to make us outsmart and make us play to their rhythm. In previous matches, we are the ones who impact the opponents ”, regretted Alexia Chartereau, rare French breakthrough in the final.
Les Bleues fell from high on a formidable Serbian team, which relied in part on the team that beat France in the Euro final in 2015 (five of the twelve Serbian players in 2021 were present in Budapest in 2015).
They left a lot of energy running after the score after conceding a 13-0 at the start of the second quarter (31-18). The wind of revolt initiated by Valériane Vukosavljevic at the end of the second quarter, and the gap of five points at the break (31-26) were only a sham, because the Serbs dominated all game sectors.
The players of Valérie Garnier kept up the hope under the impetus of Alexia Chartereau at the end of the third quarter but never managed to recover from a 10-0 conceded at the return of the locker room.
Getting up in Tokyo
This defeat is all the more annoying that all the lights were green for the French. Unlike 2019, the French squad was complete, no player had to give up Euro-2021, started in France in Strasbourg. Even the injury of the titular leader from the first match against Croatia had been perfectly managed, thanks to the entry of Alix Duchet and the versatility of the other full-backs, Marine Johannès and Sarah Michel.
In addition, the French seemed to master their subject like never before, very rarely if not almost not worried in their journey until the seventh last consecutive four in a European Championship, a series started in 2009 during the last coronation of the Blue. Finally, Spain, a real bête noire of France in recent years with three victories in the final in 2013, 2017 and 2019, is in a deep generation renewal and has not passed the quarter-finals stage, beaten by Serbia.
For the staff, we will have to succeed in remobilizing and for the players the rebound is expected very quickly, because the summer of 2021 is very far from over for the Blue. After this first half dedicated to Euro-2021, according to the formula put forward by coach Valérie Garnier when launching the preparation, they will tackle the other summer objective, namely the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Placed in a pool with the invincible Americans, six-fold reigning Olympic champions and once again big favorites for the title in Japan, the French will first have to get out of this group to reach the quarter-finals, before dreaming of a possible podium at the Olympics, on which the “Robbers” were mounted in 2012 in London, with the silver medal. “We will have to put our heads right side up, we have no choice. We have a big goal with the Olympics ”, explained Helena Ciak. “You have to learn lessons and get back into it. “