Paris 2024 Olympics: Before hosting Germany in Montpellier, the Blues are going to Cologne to continue their preparation

Paris 2024 Olympics: Before hosting Germany in Montpellier, the Blues are going to Cologne to continue their preparation

Ntilikina et les Bleus continuent leur préparation. – armand_lenoir

Après une balade turque en guise d'apéritif (96-46), l'équipe de France de basket attaque l'un des plats principaux de sa préparation aux JO contre l'Allemagne, championne du monde, samedi (16h) à Cologne, dernier rendez-vous avant l'annonce de la sélection retenue pour Paris.

Serious things begin for the Victor Wembanyama gang, who will meet the Germans in Montpellier on Monday then on August 2 in Villeneuve-d'Ascq in group B of the Olympic tournament.

His defense, the identity of the renewal desired by coach Vincent Collet after the fiasco of the 2023 World Cup, will pass a test of a completely different scale against the Mannschaft of Dennis Schröder and the Frantz brothers and Mo Wagner.

The giant interior pair made up of Wembanyama (2.24 m) and Rudy Gobert (2.16 m) should be more rowdy and will have the opportunity to break in in a difficult context its complementarity in attack. Another cornerstone of the blue-white-red project, the rapid relaunch will be closely scrutinized by the French management.

Four professional interiors ?

But beyond the game, the choice of men will be at the heart of this match in Cologne, at the end of which Collet will reduce his list for the Olympics from 16 to 12 players, which will be announced Monday. “I didn't have the final selection in my head at all, I have it a little more but still not completely, Collet said on Wednesday in the stride of victory against the Turks. The match on Saturday will be important, and then our last training sessions, very intense, (…) in which we observe a lot of things."

Inside, after the withdrawal of pivot Vincent Poirier, injured in the left ankle, the Norman considers "a very probable possibility" to take only four players (Gobert, Wembanyama, Mathias Lessort and Guerschon Yabusele) and to count on captain Nicolas Batum to fill in at the power forward position.

"Batman" should be accompanied in the winger position by the young Bilal Coulibaly (20 years old, July 26), a very good defender and finisher in transition who performed well in Rouen.

De Colo threatened ?

 More vagueness surrounds the six external positions remaining a priori to be filled, where the choice of Collet will not only be dictated by "who plays well& ;quot; but will be "very linked to our identity", which he therefore wants to be defensive. If Evan Fournier, best Blue of the 2023 World Cup, seems essential in attack, Collet should favor good defenders, which seems to give a head start to Andrew Albicy and Frank Ntilikina, watchdogs of the exterior lines.

The good performances on Wednesday of Matthew Strazel and Isaïa Cordinier could allow them to join the group, for which Théo Maledon, Élie Okobo, Nadir Hifi and Nando De Colo are also applying. De Colo, not known for his defensive qualities and who at 37 is coming off a season marred by injuries, could he be the big absentee from the list ? His experience (198 selections since 2008) and his ability to organize the attack nevertheless speak in his favor, especially to the extent that Collet found the set-ups “sometimes too slow” against Turkey.

“It's still Nando, he's a magician with the ball, a guy who controls the game, who knows what to do and when he's around such good players, his talent is even higher”, Batum recalls. Like the rest of the French team, De Colo will undergo a test of another magnitude in Cologne.

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