The rivalry between France and Spain marked a whole generation of Blues fans. However, as Nicolas Batum reminds us on RMC, the teams have changed and there is not much left of this « hate ».
“Even if Vincent (Collet) can base his speech on that, and I think he will, they (current players) have not known what we have known. Most of the players, three-quarters of the players have not known, suffered and experienced what we have known against them. Opposite, it’s not the same players either. There are also no Gasol brothers, Sergio Llull, Ricky Rubio, Sergio Rodriguez, Serge Ibaka, Nikola Mirotic… They are reigning world champions but all the big players who gave them the world title are not there , apart from Rudy Fernandez and the Hernangomez who had small roles, and not major roles” recalls the Clippers winger.
For Nicolas Batum, this rivalry can also, on the contrary, rather serve Spain…
“It’s the first time that a French team has been the favorite against Spain in the semis or final of a major league. The story is reversed. Playing on the rivalry, they don’t need it. It is rather Spain who will play on it because Spain are not favorites tonight. »
This is also the speech that Sergio Scariolo held upstream. As against Germany, which he described as « Best Team of the Tournament » before dropping it, the coach puts himself in the shoes of the outsider.
“France is a better team than us. They are bigger than us, they shoot better, we are going to war against better than us. But we are going to fight, we are going to give everything, like in every game. Nobody believed in us before the EuroBasket, but in the locker room, we see ourselves as champions. »
Five wins in five games against Vincent Collet in the finals
The Italian tactician is also Spain’s trump card. With a rejuvenated and much more limited workforce than during the great years of La Roja, further weighed down by the injuries of Ricky Rubio and Sergio Llull which prompted the selection to naturalize Lorenzo Brown urgently, he still manages to land a new medal.
We must therefore remember that it was when he left the controls of the Spanish team to Juan Antonio Orenga, between 2013 and 2014, that the Blues finally managed to break the domination of their neighbors.
From 2009 to 2012, France had thus fallen against Spain at Euro 2009, at Euro 2011 then at the 2012 Olympics. And after his return, the Blues again broke their teeth against Spain at Euro 2015 and then at the 2016 Olympics. In fact, Vincent Collet’s France has beaten Sergio Scariolo’s Spain only once in official competition. It was at the 2010 World Cup, for the first group match of the competition. In the matches of the final phase, Sergio Scariolo leads 5-0 in his duels with Vincent Collet.
If he still manages to hoist La Roja to the top of Europe tonight, the 2019 NBA champion (as an assistant) would undoubtedly achieve the greatest feat of his career as a coach. He has proven many times in the past that he has mastered the tactical and human subtleties to achieve this. His « box » against Dennis Schröder in the semi-finals demonstrated this again, as did his way of placing his team as an outsider who has nothing to lose from the start…