Dongguan (dpa) – After the bitterness of the World Cup, American basketball players sneaked into the cabin with their heads down.
Due to staggering mistakes in the finals, the big favorite lost the sensational shock in the quarter-finals of the World Cup against France with a score of 79:89 (39:45) and only plays for places five to eight. The defending champion and five-time world champion, previously undefeated, missed his first loss to a major tournament since the 2006 World Cup, not only in the semifinals, but also three times world champion.
The French, who defeated Germany 78-74 in the preliminary round, are now facing Argentina. The South Americans had caused a sensation the day before and unexpectedly eliminated the contender for the title, Serbia. In the other semifinal, Spain will face Australia or the Czech Republic.
The best thrower of the French was at the Dongguan Basketball Center, Evan Fournier, with 22 points. In the United States, Donovan Mitchell dominated with 29 points. Apart from him, only Marcus Smart (11 years old) and Kemba Walker (10 years old) scored two figures.
During the first two quarters, the French put pressure on their favorites thanks to their strong defense, so that the Americans could not improve their offensive game. In addition, the successful coach Gregg Popovich, who had to give up on Jayson Tatum, ankle injury, Boston Celtics, waited with a very weak trio of only 19%. Boston Celtics striker Walker was completely removed from play in the first period, found no pace and scored just three points.
Utah Jazz's Mitchell then brought his team back to 60:60 (28 '), before a strong interim push led to an improved backup and a 66-63 lead during of the last break.
At 74:67 (33), the favorite, with many NBA superstars canceled for the World Cup, seemed to have control of the game. But far from it: in the finals, Mitchell and his teammates have completely lost their nerves. Many free throws went bad, even technical mistakes that should not happen at this level, paved the French at the head of the powerful Fournier, nor the way leading to the semifinals.