Basketball: Les Bleues win their ticket for Euro 2023

Basketball: Les Bleues win their ticket for Euro 2023

Qualified! By offering a victory (long to take shape) in Lithuania (83-75) this Thursday evening, the French women’s team validated its ticket for Euro 2023. Les Bleues dominated their main competitors in Pool B , making sure to finish first, which will allow them to benefit from a more favorable draw for the European Championship, which will be held from June 15 to 25 in Israel and Slovenia.

Jean-Aimé Toupane’s players had to work harder than in the first leg, which they had easily won (83-56) in Villeneuve d’Ascq in November 2021. The French however started strong thanks to a 13- 5 from the start, before a good reaction from the Lithuanians with a 9-0 (14-13, 8th). Carried by Valériane Vukosavljevic and her ten points in the first quarter, then by the award-winning baskets of Sarah Michel then Marine Johannès, France distances itself (33-25, 16th).

But the Olympic vice-champions made too many mistakes, allowing Lithuania to come back level at the break (40-40), with 14 points scored on free throws. Little in sight in the first period, Gabby Williams then takes things in hand after returning from the locker room. The Asvel player scored 12 points in the 14-0 inflicted on the Lithuanians in five minutes, in the heart of the third quarter (56-46, 27th).

Break the curse of lost finals

Deprived of several executives like Endy Miyem, Alix Duchet or Alexia Chartereau, Iliana Rupert’s teammates once again saw their opponents return (63-62, 34th), before relying on Marine Johannès, particularly active at the end of the match (21 points, four assists), to break away in the final minutes. On the last day of this qualifying phase, they will travel to Helsinki on Sunday (2 p.m.) where they will challenge Finland, last in the group.

Les Bleues will therefore participate in this Euro, the final phase of which will be played in Ljubljana, where they will try to win a third continental title, after those of 2001 and 2009. To achieve this, they will have to break the curse that seems to pursue them after five failures. consecutive finals in recent editions.

Jean-Aimé Toupane, who replaced Valérie Garnier at the head of the selection after the Tokyo Olympics, will lead them for the first time during a Euro. For his first competition as a coach, Les Bleues reached the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup, before losing to China.


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