Spain comes back to beat France and earn spot in ’16 Olympics

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The Eurobasket semifinal between France and Spain, with an Olympic bid on the line, lived up to the hype. Spain escaped with a 80-75, overtime victory to book its ticket to Rio, and France can only look back at a blown opportunity on its home floor.

France had been the better team all tournament and the better team through 34 minutes on Thursday. But it all came crashing down quickly.

The knockout round hosts led by nine with six minutes to go in regulation and by two late in overtime, but missed four free throws in the final 1:14 to blow their first chance at a trip to the Olympics.

20150917_oly_field_2

In the fourth period, Pau Gasol led a 14-2 Spain run to turn that nine-point deficit into a three-point lead. France survived with a Nicolas Batum 3-pointer with 14 seconds left. But with a chance to tie the game with three free throws with 15 seconds left in overtime, Batum missed the all three (the third intentionally) and a Gasol dunk gave Spain its five-point win.

Gasol finished with 40 points and 11 rebounds, with Spain running most of its late-game offense through him in the low post against Rudy Gobert. Batum (3-for-14 shooting) and Nando De Colo (6-for-12) each had 14 points for Spain. Tony Parker had a big bucket in overtime, but shot 4-for-17.

Not only did Spain earn an Olympic bid, but they avenged last year’s loss in the World Cup quarterfinals on their home floor. Spain is now 6-3 against France in major tournaments over the last seven years.

With how it went down at last year’s World Cup and with two early losses in this tournament, Spain looked like it had lost its grip on its status as the best national team outside of the United Stats. But it will now play for its third Eurobasket championship in the last seven years.

Spain will play the winner of Friday’s semifinal, Lithuania vs. Serbia, in the gold medal game on Sunday. France moves on to the bronze medal game and will still have a chance to qualify for next year’s Olympics. As a 3-7 finisher at Eurobasket, they’ll be entered into one of next year’s qualifying tournaments.

Earlier on Thursday, Greece beat Latvia and Italy beat the Czech Republic to earn bids to the qualifying tournaments. Latvia and the Czech Republic will play for seventh place and Europe’s final automatic bid to the qualifying tournaments on Friday.

20150917_qt_field_2

19 Comments

  1. robb says:

    great game, the semifinals were dense, i’m hyped fot the final

  2. rum991 says:

    Here is the true game………

  3. joe says:

    Bro… France was the better team. Spain missed Ibaka, Ricky Rubio and, maybe mostly, Marc Gasol, Calderon and Navarro. Them, and Pau, really are the backbone of the team and none of them were there. The spanish national team really came to this tournament with half the team at home. France has definitely been elite and every time they play Spain they try to bring their A game. It was one of the most enjoyable games i’ve ever seen when talking international play. Spain had no rebound and no outside shooting.. they really just played with cojones (pardon my french). I can’t believe the french players complaining about the refs. Did you guys see the same game i saw? The refs were no doubt very, very nice to the french team (which, playing there, i can understand). The fouls they called on, for example, Felipe Reyes on Nico Batum were bonkers, Gobert had to defend monster Pau by himself, and Pau being pretty much unstoppable yesterday, of course he loaded up on fouls quick. I don’t know man.. i don’t even want to talk about the refs, i enjoyed the game so much. I really (really) did not believe Spain could do anything this eurobasket with most of the key pieces of the team not playing.. But again, this team has a lot of heart. Thats why i think, hands down, Spain is the best national team outside of the U.S. this century and, perhaps, ever. The world cup, the eurobasket domination and, most of all, the two nailbiting finishes against USA on both olympic games finals speak to that. I’m really happy i get to live to see this

  4. So Gasol has a 40 point game and you decide to start the highlights with 14 seconds left in regulation? Are you on a seconds budget?

  5. Marco29 says:

    Pau Gasol was definitely in attack mode but also got help from the referees (no offensive fouls called against him, many defensive fouls called on him that are far from obvious). Since the game was so close, it really impacted the outcome of the game.
    Nevertheless, France, should never have lost this game considering the lead they had in the last minutes, it’s like London 2012 all over again. Plus, you cannot win such a game when you cannot shoot free throws.
    Finals against Serbia or Lithuania should be another great game and Spain definitely has the resilience to win it.
    Road to Rio will be though for France now. It would be a real pitty if they miss the Olypmpics. Allez les Bleus!!

  6. vito says:

    got to agree with Dan. Eurobasket championship is not (just) a qualification tournament for the Olympics. Winning a medal, any medal, in Eurobasket, is honour in itself and a great joy for fans, and it is in some ways more difficult than winning a medal at the olympics. In Europe you have no easy games, unlike at the Olympics, where you play Africans and Asians, which is pretty much a guaranteed win for Europeans and Americans. (Although you got to admit everyone is getting competitive these days).

  7. edmund diaz says:

    I wonder who will win in the FIBA ASIA

  8. Nate says:

    I wish Puerto Rico earns 3rd spot on the qualifiers…but man, thats a dream right now. At least we qualified to play in the 2016 Qualifying Tourney. Praying for better PR basketball days…

  9. stef says:

    Did anyone notice how Gasol won the game in overtime, thx to Gobert fouling out?
    In the previous 2-3 actions Gobert was dominating Gasol at the defensive end..but finally Gasol drove the right way and made Gobert foul him…which was the turnpoint of this game.

  10. Paul Gasolina says:

    Thank you all the referees. It was such a pleasure to play this game with your help.

  11. Manuel says:

    (…) Batum (3-for-14 shooting) and Nando De Colo (6-for-12) each had 14 points for Spain (…)

    Both Batum and De Colo are French.

    You are welcome.

  12. DAN says:

    I love how people in america think going to the olympics is bigger than winning a Eurobasket. It isn’t about going to an olympics its about winning championships… Srbija is coming for Spain… again.

  13. Ronè A says:

    Gasol is possessed right now I’m digging it

  14. Miguel says:

    Incredible match, amazing Pau, this revenge is soooo sweet! A por el oro! VAMOS ESPAÑA! #SomosEquipo

  15. paulomagnani says:

    Spain is great, just imagine this team next year with Rick Rubio and Mark Gasol, they´ll probably do the finals against the US