France ready for action against Euro champion

28th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

SAITAMA, Japan, Aug 28, 2006 (AFP) - France coach Claude Bergeaud says his team is ready to fight a defensive game against European champion Greece in a quarter-final here on Wednesday at the World Basketball Championship.

SAITAMA, Japan, Aug 28, 2006 (AFP) - France coach Claude Bergeaud says his team is ready to fight a defensive game against European champion Greece in a quarter-final here on Wednesday at the World Basketball Championship.

"We don't have good offense. So we are obliged to put big pressure with our defence," he said about the match against a side which beat France twice in the European championship last year.

"If we cannot have our defence, we'll lose our game for sure," he said.

France, which finished third at the Euros, has averaged 70.2 points a game as it moved through Group A and won a last-16 match against African champion Angola 68-62 on Sunday.

Greece has scored an average of 83.2 points in its last six games.

At the group stage, France finished second behind Olympic champion Argentina with three wins and two losses, led by small forward Boris Diaw of the US National Basketball Association Phoenix Suns.

"It's an incredible thing for us to play in the top eight," Bergeaud said. "To maintain our level in the top eight, we will perhaps reach the top four and win something in the future."

France, who won the Olympic silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Games, has won no medal at the worlds with a fourth in 1954 being its best finish yet.

Bergeaud downplayed a conception that the French are largely a side of a few NBA players including Diaw, swingman Mickael Pietrus of the Golden State Warriors, forward Johan Petro of the Seattle Supersonics and Los Angeles Lakers forward Ronny Turiaf.

"We cannot transfer the attitude of NBA players into international competition," he said, adding that his team gets great contrubutions from players based in Spain which he said is a "tough championship."

Pietrus agreed with the coach on the French team make-up.

"For years people have talked of France as a team with a few NBA players and nothing more," he said, naming Mamoutou

Diarra (Chalon Saone) and Aymeric Jeanneau (Strasbourg IG) among domestic league standouts.

"Diarra made two big three-pointers in the fourth quarter and Aymeric made the free throws down the stretch," he said. "It shows that every player from first to last is very important to the success of this team."

The winner between France and Greece will take on either the NBA star-studded US team or Germany in Friday's semi-finals.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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