|France coach Arnaud Guppillotte can call upon any of his players to do almost anything on the court. Belgium have less options available but, luckily for them, Emma Meesseman is one of them|
Preview by Adrian Popa
The last time the two finalists of the Global Vision U18 European Championship Women met each other was only four days ago.
A lot of water has passed under the Oradea bridge since then.
They were both undefeated at the time, fighting for the top spot in Qualifying Round Group F.
France won that battle, 68-48, to keep their perfect record intact and claim the first place in the group.
After that, Belgium had to deal with two tough encounters and prevailed in both, in order to meet again the French.
Asked by the FIBA Europe TV crew at the end of the big semi-final win against Spain if there was still some gas left in the tank, Belgium Head Coach Benny Mertens answered: "This win is a big boost for these girls. For sure they will have some more energy left."
For sure they will need it in big quantities as the French team had an easier game, they played two hours earlier, they have a deeper bench and a longer rotation.
The French team has the edge in three-point shooting and free throws percentage, while the Belgians are more precise inside the arc.
France can dominate with their physical game and by involving all players in the rebounding process, a category where they post 41.8 boards per game.
But Belgium has, in Emma Meesseman and Julie Vanloo, a dynamic duo that can decide the game.
Meesseman is the tournament's top scorer after Saturday's games (15.9 ppg) and also leads her team in rebounds, steals and blocks, while Vanloo is the player in charge of organising the game and is second in the tournament in assists, averaging 3.9 after the semi-finals.