France Confident Of Russian Revenge

08.09.2005

France will have the opportunity to take revenge on Russia in the quarter-finals of the EuroBasket Women in Ankara on Friday.

The nations faced each other in the 2003 EuroBasket at the same stage and the Russians won 79-66 before going on to clinch the championship.

Les Bleues, who finished second in Group A, one point behind the Czech Republic, will start favourites after beating Russia three times during their preparation matches over the summer.

Catherine Melain (France)
Cathy Melain and France are looking for revenge against Russia
"That defeat two years ago is only a bad memory," insists captain Cathy Melain.

At the time, France were the defending champions but finished fifth and missed out on a place at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Russia are now the defending champions and despite being favourites, point guard Audrey Sauret-Gillespie believes France must be wary.

"Two years ago the Russians had started the tournament very relaxed," she said.

"During the summer they lost three matches against us without ever really relaxing their efforts.

"They are not a very calm team at the moment but we will have to remain concentrated because they are capable of posing us a lot of problems."

Celine Dumerc also acknowledged the threat posed by the Russians but the point guard has urged her team-mates to concentrate on imposing their own style.

"We must play our game and not watch them play," she said on www.lequipe.fr.

"That type of team know how to be ready at the right time. This is a side with a lot of tall players who have obvious individual qualities even if they sometimes lack collective spirit.

"Despite the defeats in the preparation matches, they will be eager to show their potential."

Russia, who were third in Group B with a record of 3-2, finished the preliminary round as best scorers with an average of 82.6 points per match, ahead of Lithuania (80.4) and Spain (79.4).

France are fifth, averaging 69 points in their opening five matches.


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