“The chicks make the same bullet losses” plague Collet, who has “rarely been so downcast” after a defeat for the Blues

Back from Berlin, the national coach delivered his feelings on Monday in Paris, the day after France's defeat in the EuroBasket final.

Campaign review : “It's still a bit early to take stock. It's still hot. I take a step back. It was a particularly tough Euro. We finished second in front of teams who could claim to be in our place, Serbia, Slovenia and a few others who fell by the wayside in a somewhat surprising way. We were able to get through the drops. We were close to elimination in the round of 16 (against Turkey) and in the quarterfinals (against Italy), but we found the resources. There is a part of luck but also of abnegation, of determination. We hoped, after the brilliant victory against Poland in the semi-finals, to finish in apotheosis. Unfortunately, we didn't negotiate this match very well against a team that did it magnificently. In a match, there are two teams. We often think of ourselves, a little less of the opponents... But we must recognize that Spain was exceptional, they had their best match of the tournament on D-Day, that of the final, not us. There are inevitably regrets but you have to know how to accept losing against someone stronger than yourself. Yesterday, the Spaniards were stronger than us.»

The feeling in the hours after the final : “We don't really get over it… Over time, it will pass, but for the moment, frustration prevails. Rarely have I been so dejected after a match for the France team. For example, it was not at all the same feeling during the first European final, in 2011 (defeat against Spain too, editor's note). We had high hopes. Spain had never played at this level in the tournament and there was not necessarily a reason for that to happen. Especially since we are a team that rather prevents opponents from playing at their level. There, they are magnificently sublimated. It's hard to swallow… We couldn't do everything we wanted to do, they bothered us a lot. It's complicated but it's part of the sport and it's often what allows you to bounce back... even if you don't know it yet. Perhaps it is this kind of misadventure that will take us a step further.»

The weight of the absences of Nando de Colo and Nicolas Batum : “They failed us in certain areas, that's normal, otherwise what they brought before would not have made sense. We knew that before we even started. Despite everything, we tried to have our identity. Even if it was difficult, we progressed little by little in the tournament, things settled down and that's what allowed us to go to the final. Not everything was positive but not everything was negative either, clearly. It was a difficulty to overcome. We managed to do it partially and it is already a success. (…) Inconsistency in intensity or performance? Not in the intensity but the performance perhaps. We were pretty consistent in terms of investment and intensity, but we had some air pockets. We talked about bullet losses and their absence was felt in this area.»

In the final, we played against a much more complete, more organized team, certainly the most intelligent in Europe in the game at the moment, in the way it outwits its opponents and imposes its own.

Vincent Collet

Decompression after demonstration in half : “No, I do not think so. Each match is a balance of power. There was a huge difference between the semi-final against a team with few major players, and we achieved them thanks to the remarkable defensive work of our own players. In the final, we played against a much more complete, more organized team, certainly the most intelligent in Europe in the game at the moment, in the way it outwits its opponents and imposes its own. It was therefore not at all the same balance of power. But the players were determined, thoroughly, they wanted it as much as all of us. But that's not enough. In the final, you play against the other best team in the tournament at that time and all the lights have to be green. It's not enough to be thorough or determined. You have to have all the other qualities to win against an opponent who had an exceptional match. We must pay tribute to them. It's not easy for me, but objectively, they had a great game. (He speaks again to complete) In the 33rd minute, we are seven points behind and we have lost seven or eight balls. The chicks are the same ball losses … We also conceded five offensive rebounds compared to those we took. Just that, not to mention everything else. The defeat cannot therefore be explained in relation to the match before which was easier... In a final, when that happens, it's hard to win. We won group matches by losing 18 or 20 balls against weaker, less organized opponents. Against Spain, who only lost eight or nine, it is not possible.»

The global level of the Euro : “There is an evolution of the game on speed. Before, when we scouted the teams, we differentiated, for example, those who exploited the fast game from those who played more on half-courts. Today, it no longer exists. All the teams we met, without exception, are projecting themselves forward and going faster and faster. We had the last NBA MVPs in the competition (Giannis Antetokounmpo with Greece and Nikola Jokic with Serbia, editor's note). Even though they were dominant, they came out in the last 16 and in the quarters with very strong teams around them. It shows the density. Bosnia and Herzegovina finished fifth in our pool. They beat Slovenia. We had a good match against them and we had beaten them but we had lost just before the start of the tournament in qualifying for the 2023 World Cup. Of 24 teams at the Euro, fifteen represented real dangers. All those who were present at the stage of the 8th finals were of a good level. Our (Belgian) neighbors are the only ones to have beaten Spain during the European championship (in pool)... Basketball is still on the rise in Europe. For me, clearly, the level was higher than in 2017.»

Statements taken at a press conference

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