Who will win the EuroBasket title: Spain or France?
BERLIN (Germany) - The last two teams standing: Spain and France contest the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Final with both teams coming through some tough battles to make it to this point.
An intense rivalry renewed in what will be their sixth meeting since the 2009 edition when Spain won the first of their three titles with France's lone triumph coming in 2013 on home soil.
It may no longer be the legendary battles of Tony Parker and Pau Gasol, but these two teams are still finding ways to win and compete for medals under the stewardship of head coaches Vincent Collet and Sergio Scariolo - while Rudy Fernandez also competed 11 years ago.
Spain have trailed by double figures in each of their three games of the Knockout Phase in Berlin with their latest comeback effort denying hosts Germany in a 96-91 victory behind 29 points from Lorenzo Brown. In contrast, France cruised past Poland 95-54 following huge scares in the previous two rounds that saw them on the brink of elimination.
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Key Matchup: There will be an important battle at both ends of the floor as Willy Hernangomez and Rudy Gobert look to impact the game for their sides. Both have impressed during the tournament and their influence could dictate the game. Meanwhile, Lorenzo Brown has been starting to flourish and making Spain tick at the crucial point guard position.
X-Factor: Defense wins Championships as the mantra goes. And both teams made it count in their Semi-Final victories. In Terry Tarpey and Alberto Diaz, France and Spain have two of the unsung heroes of the tournament with their unrelenting defensive efforts earning praise from their teammates and coaches. In such a big game, those little moments of creating a steal or drawing a charge can become crucial and these two players in particular will leave nothing on the floor.
Stats Don't Lie: Two polar opposites when it comes to taking care of the ball. France rank last out of all 24 teams in turnovers with 15.8 per game, while Spain are down in third with an average of 9.1 and those extra possessions could become the difference. France have improved their shooting as the competition has gone on from three-point range (39.7 percent) but are down at 72.9 percent at the foul line.
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They Said: "We are in a Final and there is still work to do. It's going to be a very tough, very difficult final, but what else is new? That's how all our games so far have been but we're fighters and we will give our all every second of the game." - Willy Hernangomez, Spain
"It feels great [to be in the Final]. It's a dream for us. I've never won a gold medal. I have a lot of silver and a lot of bronze and I need that gold. This was the goal when we started preparation. Now we have one more game." - Rudy Gobert, France