Latvia Surprises by Beating France in FIBA World Cup 2023
In a surprising twist, Latvia's basketball team amazed by winning 88-86 against France, ending France's hopes for a medal. Sylvain Francisco missed a crucial three-point shot that could have changed the game.
This crucial match on the third day of the tournament caused quite a stir in the FIBA World Cup 2023, ranking as one of the most unexpected events.
Latvia's exciting victory of 88-86 (quarter scores: 26-33, 23-20, 13-21, 26-12) sent shockwaves through the championship, resulting in France (0-2), a top competitor, being eliminated.
With only 7 minutes remaining, Nando De Colo received his second unsportsmanlike foul, leading to his ejection from the game.
With 5 minutes left, a crucial moment arrived: Davis Bertans secured a long shot, and Artūrs Žagars scored a two-pointer from beneath the basket (74-77). The Latvian deficit remained at 81-84 as time went on.
Bertans closed the gap with successful free throws (83-84), but Evan Fournier quickly responded for France. On the other side, Rolands Šmits managed to score (85-86).
In a crucial moment, France failed to launch an effective attack, and a foul by Rudy Gobert gave Šmits the chance for game-changing free throws, pushing Latvia ahead (87-86).
France's final attack fell short, and while Bertans secured one free throw, Sylvain Francisco missed a crucial three-point shot, securing Latvia's victory.
From the beginning, both teams showcased strong offense, initially favoring France, who led 33-26. Unperturbed by their skilled opponents, Latvia stayed competitive, finishing the first half trailing by only 4 points (49-53).
The third quarter saw France perform admirably, gaining a significant lead (72-59). However, as the crucial fourth quarter reached its final six minutes, Latvia once again built suspense (69-75). With remarkable determination, they staged a remarkable comeback to secure an astonishing victory.
Among the standout players on the winning team was Artūrs Žagars, who scored 22 points, showcasing his versatility on the court.
Notably, Kaunas “Žalgiris” forward Rolands Šmits emerged as the game's most valuable player, contributing 20 points and displaying all-around skill. On the French side, Rudy Gobert's efforts led to 9 points and a strong presence under the boards.
France also had notable performances, with Evan Fournier leading with 27 points, and Guerschon Yabusele and Nicolas Batum making significant contributions.
For Latvia, the scoring was spread across players like Rolands Šmits, Davis Bertans, Kristers Žoriks, and Dairis Bertans, highlighting the team's collective strength.
After this dramatic outcome, Latvia and Canada (2-0) from Group H move on to the next round. Meanwhile, France, after this unforeseen setback, will compete in the 17-32 placement matches, making their upcoming match against Lebanon a formality.
Despite missing star player Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia displayed incredible resilience, competing without their key player. They now face Canada in the final group stage game, which will decide the group leader.
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