Basketball World Cup: Headwind for the blues and leap into the unknown

Basketball World Cup: Headwind for the blues and leap into the unknown

If the Blues ever needed adversity to sublimate themselves, then they won’t run out of fuel at the Basketball World Cup: decimated by injuries ahead of Thursday’s kick-off against Australia in Sydney, they approach the competition in the unknown.

At the end of August, coach Jean-Aimé Toupane probably thought he had reached the end of his troubles after the package from Sandrine Gruda, top scorer in the history of the French team and captain in the absence of Endy Miyem. She gave up before the summer, also due to injury, as did league leaders Alix Duchet and winger Valériane Vukosavljevic for personal reasons.

It happened without reckoning with the fate that seems to crush the Blues and struck against the United States on Monday afternoon during the last gallop of practice: the rear Marine Johannès, main attack force of the offensive in the absence of Gruda, suffered a “muscle injury of the right thigh,” says the association’s statement.

She, therefore, has to give up on her part and the French team will be amputated by half of the bronze medalists at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021.

“It’s difficult for everyone. We know very well how important she is for the team. She’s a player who scores a lot of goals, who plays with the ball. We’ll never replace her. Of course the game will be different, but That’s not it.” in 48 hours that we can change a lot of things,” Toupane regrets.

– “Stand up” –

The coach, who “calls on everyone to raise their level of play to compensate” and “to be even more united in defence”, hopes that the departure of Johannès (replaced by Mamignan Touré) “will bond the team even more than get up, give up us character”.

“We’ll see if we’re a real team or not. If everything is smooth and easy, it’s not fun,” adds inside Alexia Chartereau.

Les Bleues laugh yellow and are therefore even more clearly approaching the competition with the outsider sign than before the package from the bottom of Lyon-Villeurbanne.

“Of course nobody’s waiting for us,” agrees Marine Fauthoux, leader of a team with a renewed squad and new style of play.

Despite the Olympic bronze medal, with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in mind, the federation has indeed decided to give new impetus by replacing coach Valérie Garnier with Toupane, a supporter of a more sporting game.

The transplant struggled in the early months, losing to Ukraine in the fall and then to Nigeria and China in February.

But Toupane, who had never previously trained with women at a high level, and the Bleues assure: thanks to the time granted by the preparation, the new principles of the game will be introduced.

– goodbye –

In any case, Les Bleues must be ready quickly to get out of a very tough group, composed in particular of two opponents to whom they lost in a friendly a few days ago, Australia (loss 92-88) and Japan (loss 69-88). -59).

The Japanese had barred the way for France (87-71) to reach the last Olympic final, which will find another of its youngest executioners at the World Cup: Serbia in the final of Euro 2021 (63-54).

Canada, regulars at the highest level, and Mali complete this group, which after an obstacle course of five games in six days will take a top four spot to see the quarterfinals.

And avoid the fourth if possible to avoid crossing paths with the American Ogre, the three-time defending champion.

“I hope we create a surprise,” breathes winger Gaby Williams. We don’t have a lot of pressure because we’re young. We’re going to try to use + like + and when you play like that, good things happen.”


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