In the first match of the Tokyo Olympics, the US basketball team faced France. The Americans were the clear favorite in the bookmaker’s notes. But, at the same time, many experts noted the poor fitness of basketball players from the United States and did not exclude the fact of their loud upset at this Olympics.
As a result, professional analysts were right. With an odd of about 9 for the victory of the French basketball players, they were able to inflict the first defeat on the favorites of the tournament at the Olympic Games since 2004. The game ended with a score of 83:76. Over the past 17 years, the US national team did not experience the bitterness of defeat in the main quadrennial tournament. It is fair to say that the French national team was the main offender of the American team at the World Cup two years ago. Back then it was also in the status of the underdog but managed to win 89:79. The results and statistics of this and many other games are available on the following website: https://scores24.live/en/basketball.
What happened during the game
The game, which was certainly considered the centerpiece of the first round, took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo. The USA national team started the confrontation confidently, and, as it seemed in the first half, would not give the opponents a chance to win. The first quarter was won by the Americans with a score of 22:15. The second one was also recorded as their asset with a minimal defeat over the opponent (23:22).
Thus, the American team left for the break with a comfortable advantage after a half of the meeting having a lead of 8 points (45:37). But in the second half of the game, the French team completely turned the game around and took over the initiative. In the third quarter, Evan Fournier and the team defeated the fearsome adversary with a score of 25:11, and not only eliminated the advantage of the US team but took the lead with 6 points.
In the final quarter, the American basketball players had to recoup, but in the run-and-gun game, the French acted efficiently and managed to bring the meeting to victory with a score of 21:20 having taken over the last ten minutes as the plot had thickened. By the middle of the last quarter, the Americans even managed to come out ahead with 7 points. But at the end of the game, the US team simply fell apart, and Evan Fournier, the leader of the French national team, put himself on record with effective shots from long distances.
The most surprising part is that the French almost did not celebrate their positive achievement. This suggests that for them the victory over the United States was not a sensation and this fact should be a wake-up call for the Americans. Such reaction proves once again that, despite the fact that the representatives of the North American continent have won the last three Olympiads, other top national teams are not really afraid of them.
As a result of this game, the US team’s unbeaten Olympic streak was interrupted, which had consisted of 25 matches in a row. The slam dunker of the meeting was the Frenchman Evan Fournier, who earned 28 points for his team. Before the match, the leader of the French national team said the following words about the opponent in the upcoming match: “They are better when it comes to individual skills, but they can be defeated as a team.”
Prospects of the teams
Despite the defeat, the Americans still have a fairly high chance of making it to the playoffs. In Group A, the following national teams are competing for the qualification to the next round:
- Czech Republic;
After a successful start, the France national team has nearly assured themselves participation in the playoff round of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. And Vincent Collet’s wards can do this ahead of schedule in case of success in the match against the Czech national team. In the final round of the group stage, the French will face the plainly weak Iranian national team, and their victory is very much likely. Thus, France has a good chance to advance further.
The Americans need to win both upcoming meetings to advance to the next stage. Despite the absurd game against the French, it is hard to believe that we will see something like this in the next confrontations. The US basketball team has skilled and experienced athletes. Despite certain problems in the squad and in the game as a whole, there is practically no doubt that they will roll up the Iranian national team. The bitterness of defeat in the debut of the Tokyo Olympics only fuels it up, and after such a serious shock, the team will make efforts with even greater dedication to recover that unfortunate result.
Next, Gregg Popovich’s team will meet with the Czech national team. Despite the fact that this is a strong team, the Czechs fall far short of the top national teams. American basketball players will be more motivated than ever to win. And the past head-to-head meetings of these teams once again are the evidence that the outsider will hardly have any chances. The last time the teams met at the 2019 World Cup, the Americans won a crushing victory with a score of 88:67. This time, the US advantage may not be so obvious, but, most likely, they will have a landslide win in this confrontation.
As it was expected before the start of the Olympic basketball tournament, the US team came to the competition not in the best shape and not even in the optimal composition. Some imbalance in the game, and maybe excessive self-confidence caused by the status of the clear favorite, played a cruel trick with Gregg Popovich’s team in their debut game in Tokyo.
Despite this, the team is still one of the contenders for Olympic gold; however, for this purpose, the players should muster all strength and improve their game in the next matches. This demand is addressed to them by both the coach and the American fans. As the tournament favorite, the team does not have the right to further misfires in the group stage, as this will mean a complete failure. Moreover, the two remaining opponents are clearly not in the France national team’s league, and the individual skill of American basketball players will become a decisive factor in the matches against the national teams of the Czech Republic and Iran.
You can always follow the development of events in these and other sports confrontations on the Scores 24 web portal. Here you can find up-to-date information for fans of basketball and sports in general.