Sending shockwaves through the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, Latvia created a stunning upset by eliminating France in a gripping showdown.
Despite being 13 points behind, the World Cup debutants made an impressive comeback, securing a spot in the Second Round alongside Canada.
This marked a significant moment as France, considered contenders before the tournament, faced back-to-back losses in the preliminary round for the first time since 2010.
The momentum shifted when France’s Nando De Colo received his second unsportsmanlike foul and was ejected at the 6:46 mark of the fourth quarter.
This pivotal moment spurred Latvia into action, as they embarked on a 10-3 run, narrowing the deficit to 77-76 with 4:42 remaining. Both teams then engaged in a basket-for-basket exchange.
Ultimately, Latvia’s Arturs Zagars and Rolands Smits stepped up with crucial plays, propelling Latvia to a lead of 87-86 with only 37.7 seconds left.
Despite France’s efforts, they couldn’t score following their final timeout. Latvia split their last two free throws, and Silvain Francisco missed a potential game-winning three-pointer, sealing the victory for Latvia.
Watch the game highlights between France and Latvia in the First Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023: