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France believed where no one else did
MADRID (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Nearly everyone in Madrid's Palacio de los Deportes and most people watching the last Quarter-Final at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup elsewhere thought that Spain would beat France and reach the Semi-Finals.
The small group of people who didn't think so were the French national team and their staff. And that belief turned into one of the biggest upsets in international basketball history.
I am very proud of the team and the staff for believing. - Diaw
"I am very, very happy that the team won. Not a lot of people believed that we could win that game. But we did, and that showed on the court," said France captain Boris Diaw, who led the French in scoring with 15 points in the 65-52 win over the host nation."I told them before the game to believe. But they already did. And the other thing I told them is don't have any regrets after the game. Give 100 percent and play like there is no other game after that."
Diaw added that France were playing with the motivation to win while Spain had the motivation not to lose, which was a big factor.
The San Antonio Spurs star also said he was impressed that the young French team withstood Spain's main punch in the third quarter and went on to win.
"We knew that they would come back in the second half. It was tough. They came back and were pressing. But we took it. That’s another reason why I am proud of this team."
France coach Vincent Collet said Spain's 88-64 win over his team in group play also played a role.
"It was more motivation for us. We used it. We showed to the players how bad we were looking in the first game," said the coach.
They understood that the win was not impossible. - Collet
"I'm very proud that the players reacted that way. We knew to win we had to play perfectly on defense. Not on offense, but on defense because Spain get their confidence with offense."
Now it's France with the confidence - as the belief was already there.