Finland Hand France First Defeat

17 August 2009

Finland edged previously undefeated France 77-73 in Vantaa on Monday in the Additional Qualifying Round for EuroBasket 2009.

Teemu Rannikko had 21 points for the Finns, with Hanno Möttölä chipping in 17 along with nine rebounds.

France had already clinched first place in Group B with a resounding triumph over Italy on Friday, but that should take nothing away from Finland's victory.

Although Nicolas Batum didn't play while he has his problematic shoulder examined by the Portland Trail Blazers, France still turned up with a star-studded team that included Tony Parker.

The San Antonio Spurs playmaker, with almost 3,400 fans looking on, played 31 minutes and finished with four points and three assists.

Nando De Colo led France with 18 points, and it was his shot from behind the arc that gave Les Bleus a 70-67 lead with 3:47 remaining in the contest.

Petteri Koponen, who played for Virtus Bologna against De Colo (Cholet) earlier this year in the final of the EuroChallenge, responded with a jump shot before Rannikko took over.

The guard was fouled while making a jumper and went to the line to successfully convert the three-point play for a 72-70 lead 1:05 from the end.

After Boris Diaw made just one of two free-throws to trim the deficit to 72-71 with 40 seconds remaining, Rannikko struck with a three-pointer to put the Finns in front for good.

France have finished play in Group B and now await the winners of Group A to play for the final ticket to the EuroBasket.

Finland travel to Italy on Thursday for their last Additional Qualifying Round game.


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