The talent of the French team, the hierarchy of the Spanish and the flashes of Ricky Rubio, Sergio Rodríguez, Fournier and De Colo provided another showy duel in their historic rivalry. The two teams brought out an assortment of resources capable of providing great moments regardless of the type of match, a friendly match, or the absence of transcendental players in the French quintet. They could not play Heurtel, Gobert and Batum. But after the first seven minutes of play, France shone and commanded by seven points (16-23), as if it lacked nothing, nor was it for her her first match in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. The better France, the better Spain.
The Spanish defense had to work hard to neutralize Fournier, the Celtics guard, and to adjust the marking on Luwawu-Cabarrot, the Nets forward, very aggressive and accurate in attack. If to this is added the intimidation of Fall, the giant recently signed by Olympiacos, and the physical display of Yabusele, the new power forward of Real Madrid, the demand of the match for Spain is understood.
Abalde and Rudy Fernández accelerated the offensive rhythm. And Pau Gasol rebelled against the suffocating defense that Vincent Collet, the French coach, raised on him. The Spanish pivot demonstrated his inexhaustible source of resources in an action. He took a ball for Llull when he was buried by three rivals. The Menorcan guard-guard launched a triple that did not enter and Pau Gasol himself, once again spoiled by a French pivot, took the offensive rebound and scored. Before he had made a triple, he had defended Fall and Yabusele, he had become strong inside the zone. Of everything.
Juancho Hernangómez went stiff in a Fall block and, with a battered shoulder, did not play again. A problem for the Spanish team, which could not count on Abrines either, with physical discomfort. Abalde’s gunpowder solved the ballot. But the first stretch was given by Ricky Rubio, with an offensive gale and 12 points in the first five minutes of the third quarter that made it 61-51 on the scoreboard. The French team slightly reduced the advantage of De Colo’s hand. But Sergio Rodríguez took over from Ricky in the fourth quarter and made the biggest difference of the game: 76-62.
The selection of Sergio Scariolo is applied seriously and professionally, whether against Iran or against France. Nor does she despair in the phases in which she is dominated and does not play her best game, nor does she run out of control when the opposite happens. The way he has run the game thus far strengthens his preparation for the Games. This Saturday, again against France, but this time in Paris, he will have to pass a test that is probably more demanding.
Spain, 86; France, 77
Spain: Ricky Rubio (16), Rudy Fernández (11), Juancho Hernangómez (3), Claver (5) Marc Gasol (8) -starting team-; Abalde (11), Pau Gasol (7), Sergio Rodríguez (14), Llull (5), Garuba (0), Willy Hernangómez (6), Brizuela (0) and Oriola (0).
France: Albicy (2), De Colo (17), Fournier (20), Yabusele (8), Fall (4) –start team-; Lessort (0), Ntilikina (7), Luwawu-Cabarrot (9), Poirier (8), Cordinier (0) and Cornelie (2)
Partial: 21-24, 23-14, 21-20 and 21-19.
Referees: Castillo, Conde and Rosso.
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