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France get important winning lesson looking ahead
MADRID (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - France's youngsters learned a valuable lesson at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup by taking third place with a 95-93 win over Lithuania - an invaluable experience that will help them and the country with the ultimate goal of the 2016 Olympics in mind.
"When we started this adventure in July we had the goal of finishing in the top three," said France coach Vincent Collet after the country secured its best-ever showing at the Worlds - besting its fourth place from 1954.
The way we reached this third place is even better for us. - Collet
"I am very happy with this young group getting a very good result. We have EuroBasket next year in France and our next goal is to go to Rio in two years. This is the main goal of this team because we would like to be in the same place in Rio 2016."
While the podium finish is a great experience, French captain Boris Diaw said the main lesson for the country's younger players came in the Semi-Finals, where they lost to Serbia.
"That's something all the players, the younger players can use as experience. I don’t think that they had this kind of loss before. That's something that stays in your head and I think it will serve us in the future," he said.
The future starts already next summer when France will host one of the group stages and the Final Round of 2015 EuroBasket.
"We know that it's very difficult to win a championship at home, like we saw with Spain. Spain were the closest in 2007 until JR Holden hit his jumper. …Our goal will be to be the first (EuroBasket host to win the title) for a long time," Collet said.
The experience from Spain 2014 will play a major role in that process.
Lithuania will undoubtedly learn a lot from the experience as well - though it isn't of the positive kind.
Fourth is the worst place in a tournament like this - Jankunas
"It is a shame. We had an opportunity to win the game and get a medal," said Paulius Jankunas.
"We missed something - a couple of key shots, lost by couple of points and didn't do everything that we needed to do," added Jonas Valanciunas.