27 Jul
    10 Aug 2024

    Olympic Host France feeling satisfied after Olympic Men's and Women's Draw

    MIES (Switzerland) - The aim of reaching the podium for the second consecutive Olympics for the French men's and women's national teams may have been served well at Tuesday's Draw for the tournaments.

    MIES (Switzerland) - The aim of reaching the podium for the second consecutive Olympics for the French men's and women's national teams may have been served well at Tuesday's Draw for the tournaments.

    The men, coming off a disappointing 18th place finish at last year's FIBA Basketball World Cup, were drawn in Group B with World Champions Germany, Japan and the winners of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga.


    France were also drawn in Group B of the Women's Basketball Tournament Paris 2024 with Canada, Nigeria and Australia.

    "It's one of the toughest tournaments in history," said men's team Vincent Collet via video conference from the United States.

    He said he was "generally satisfied with the draw."

    If Latvia win the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga, they will be in Group B with France

    "My number one expectation was to avoid Serbia because if (Nikola) Jokic comes - not to mention (Vasilije) Micic - they are the number two favorite team behind Team USA," he said.

    According to Jean-Aime Toupane, the coach of Les Bleues who spoke at a press conference: "Every match will be a final. I think at this level, all 12 teams are very strong. With other teams, we would have had the same approach. If we want to win, we must be calm."

    France, who beat Australia in Sydney two years ago, will meet the Opals again but this time on home soil

    France, both the men and the women, will be respectful of all the opponents but also full of confidence, too. They will be at home, and both teams will be stacked with talent.

    A few years ago in Tokyo, the men beat the USA on opening night and also pushed them very close in a thrilling Gold Medal Game.

    "I was stressed before the Draw, but at the same time, I had butterflies in my stomach," Collet admitted. "Now that we know our opponents, it really begins, there's a real excitement surrounding this Olympic tournament."

    France, who are likely to have Victor Wembanyama in the team, were not fortunate to avoid Germany, who won the FIBA Basketball World Cup for the first time last year. In doing so, they knocked off Latvia in the Quarter-Finals, USA in the Semi-Finals and Serbia in the Final.

    France and Germany squared off at FIBA EuroBasket 2022 in Cologne

    "Last year already, I saw the Germans going very far in the competition, but many underestimated them compared to the NBA players they had," Collet said. "We gave them a hard time in 2019, and they came very close to being European champions in 2022. It's a logical continuation and a very strong team...

    "We need to finish first of the Group."

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by FIBA (@fiba)

    Toupane coached his team at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in Australia in 2022 and again last summer at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket. He also led them at the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Xi'an, where they impressed by beating hosts China, New Zealand and Puerto Rico.

    "We are happy to have a much clearer idea of our opponents," Toupane said. "Every game will be a challenge. It won't be easy. We'll be facing athletic teams: Canada, Australia, Nigeria. This aspect will be important beyond basketball."

    "The most important thing for us is already having a clear idea about the opponent. Since we have ambition and the desire to go as far as possible, we have to face everyone."

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by FIBA (@fiba)

    Boris Diaw and Celine Dumerc, two of the country's national team legends, attended the Draws at the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball in Mies. Both are general managers of their former teams.

    Both are symbols of powerful French teams of the past.

    Diaw spoke about France being the host nation and considered whether that put additional pressure on the team.

    "On one hand, we're driven by the crowd, uplifted to play in our country, but it inevitably adds extra pressure at the same time," he said. "We'll have to manage it well."

    Celine Dumerc, who was at the Draw, was arguably the best player at the 2012 Olympics

    He also spoke about the prospect of potentially taking on Latvia, the country that upset France at the World Cup. Latvia will be one of France's opponents but only if they can win the OQT they are hosting July 2-7 in Riga.

    "It's true that Latvia has a slight advantage in this Olympic Qualifying Tournament," Diaw said. "They'll be playing at home, and it's a team that thrives on euphoria.

    "It's clear that after losing to them last year in the World Cup, we really know the value of this team and what they're capable of. Additionally, they'll be getting Kristaps Porzingis back, who is still a major player, injured during the World Cup. If they indeed qualify, it won't be an easy game either."

    Dumerc, who set the Olympic world alight in London 12 years ago by spearheading France's run to the Gold Medal Game, knows there will be danger at every turn.

    "Yes, it's a fairly balanced group," she said. "If we just look at the results from the last World Cup, we're facing two teams that finished in the top four, so two big teams, plus Nigeria... So, it's not easy.

    "Did we expect better? Honestly, these are the Olympic Games, so we know that every group presents its own challenges no matter what. We'll have to play and win matches to come out on top."



    Latest news

    Team Profile: Hovasse already coached Japan to an Olympic Final

    Team Profile: Puerto Rico back 20 years after stunning the world

    Team Profile: Canada back to the podium after 88 years?