France Hands U.S. Men’s Basketball First Olympic Loss In Nearly 20 Years
After the final whistle, France hardly celebrated. Does France’s lack of reaction show that the USA is no longer a feared team? France ended a 25-game Olympic winning streak for the USA. Closing the game with a 16-2 run, France was able to defeat the U.S. 83-76.
Fournier spoke after the game, “They are better individually, but they can be beaten as a team.”
In the last two years, the USA has been defeated regularly. Since France beat them in the Basketball World Cup Quarterfinals two years ago, the USA has been just 3-5 in their last games with NBA players included on the roster. Notably losing to Australia and Nigeria in their Olympic tune-up matches.
USA coach Gregg Popovich said, “I think that’s a little bit of hubris if you think the Americans are supposed to just roll out the balls and win. We’ve got to work for it just like everybody else. And for those 40 minutes, they played better than we did.”
In the 144 Olympic Games all-time for the USA, this was just their sixth loss. Since the 1992 “Dream Team,” the USA has one gold at every Olympics other than 2004 where a bronze medal was earned. This team still can win gold at the 2020 games, but there is no guarantee with the recent state of play.
“Evan was amazing. I don’t want to use big, big, big words, but he made some very big shots,” said French coach Vincent Collet.
The USA’s loss does not eliminate them for gold contention but does make the path much more difficult, essentially eliminating room for error. They must win their next two group games versus Iran and the Czech Republic to move onto the quarterfinals.
USA forward Draymond Green stated, “We have to defend better down the stretch and close games out.”
The USA looks to improve upon this last performance in their must-win game versus Iran on Wednesday.