France’s hopes of FIBA World Cup glory were dashed in a surprising turn of events as they faced an early exit from the tournament.
After a devastating loss to Latvia in the second game and a crushing defeat by Canada in the opener, France’s World Cup journey came to an unexpected end during the group phase.
Nicolas Batum, the seasoned 34-year-old veteran, shared his thoughts on the disappointing outcome. He acknowledged that this marked his final World Cup appearance.
In an interview with beIN Sports following the team’s elimination, Batum expressed his disappointment, highlighting the mental and physical toll the tournament had taken on the French squad.
“It’s a big disappointment, that’s for sure, we broke down mentally, physically, they were very strong, we weren’t together… This match characterizes what has happened for five or six weeks,” the Clippers forward said, via L’Equipe (h/t HoopsHype).
He emphasized the importance of unity and self-reflection, urging everyone involved, from players and coaches to the Federation, to assess their roles in the team’s performance this summer.
Batum also touched upon the challenges the team faced, including the absence of key players and external conditions. Despite the setback, he called for a collective effort to ensure the best possible team for the upcoming Paris Olympics.
“It was my last World Cup, I missed summers but I did everything for this jersey. When we deprive ourselves of certain guys (Thomas Heurtel, leader with 99 caps and four international medals, has been suspended from the French team for a year and his signing in Russia)… We’ve been together, we’ve been putting something in place for years… The players, we screwed up, but it takes a lot of people to question themselves.
“I have one year left in the France team. We need everyone in Paris, the best conditions, everyone. I don’t give a damn about politics, we need the best team in France possible. I screwed up my last World Cup and it really pisses me off.”