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France stun USA in FIBA World Cup last eight

US fail to reach the medal rounds for the first time since 2002

Tuesday 17 September 2019 07:46, UK

Nicolas Batum and France stunned the USA at the FIBA World Cup to reach the semi-finals at the expense of the holders
Image: Nicolas Batum and France stunned the USA at the FIBA World Cup to reach the semi-finals at the expense of the holders

France stunned holders United States to dump them out of the FIBA World Cup with an 89-79 quarter-final victory on Wednesday.

France will meet Argentina on Friday for a berth in Sunday's final while 2006 champions Spain take on Australia who beat the Czech Republic 82-70 in the remaining quarter-final.

The United States, favourites to win their third successive and sixth overall world title, dropped into the 5-8th place play-offs after they failed to reach the medal rounds for the first time since the 2002 tournament in Indianapolis.

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The Americans were beaten in a last-eight clash by the former Yugoslavia in that tournament and they next face Serbia, who were billed as their most likely rival in a gold-medal clash in this year's event.

Having ground out a barely deserved 93-92 overtime win over Turkey in the preliminary group stage, there was to be no escape for the US this time against an athletic French side who overpowered them in every department.

Rudy Gobert of France celebrates the victory with teammate Evan Fournier after the quarter final of 2019 FIBA World Cup between USA and France 0:32
Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert combined for 43 points as France shocked USA
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An aggressive French defence forced a flurry of first-half turnovers and having engineered a 45-39 half-time lead, they surged 51-41 early in the third quarter thanks to inspired performances from Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert.

As the duo began to tire, Team USA hit back thanks to a one-man show from Donovan Mitchell, who netted 14 of his game-high 29 points in the third quarter to give the 2014 champions a 66-63 lead ahead of the final 10 minutes.

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France advance to the semi-final where they will face
Image: France advance to the semi-final where they will face Argentina
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But Mitchell stayed scoreless in the fourth quarter while his Utah Jazz team mate Gobert and Orlando Magic guard Fournier hit top gear.

Trailing 72-65, France went on a 17-4 run and cool free-throw shooting in the last 90 seconds of the clash gave them a memorable win as Gobert finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds while Fournier netted 22 points.

The towering Gobert also produced two crucial blocks in the final minute as the Americans lost their momentum and threw away several key possessions.

The only positive they will take from the tournament is that they have qualified for next year's Olympics in Tokyo alongside Australia, Argentina, Iran and Nigeria.

Patty Mills of Australia reacts during the quarter final match between Australia and Czech Republic 0:34
Patty Mills grabbed four rebounds, six assists and 24 points for Australia in their 82-70 win over Czech Republic

Australia point guard Patty Mills' performances at the basketball World Cup have helped propel his team into a hot favourite for the title.

The Boomers advanced to their first World Cup semi-final with an 82-70 victory over the Czech Republic with Mills scoring 24 points while adding six assists and four rebounds.

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