Greece hammered France 64-50 in Belgrade to join Slovenia at the top of EuroBasket Group C after the opening day's play.
Just as they showed in friendly games before the tournament in a string of victories, Greece's defence suffocated Les Bleus and was most responsible for the comprehensive triumph.
Greek coach Panagiotis Yannakis, who led his side to the quarter-final round of the Olympics last season, had prepared for the toughest of games.
Instead, he found feeble opposition.
"We expected a very strong game so we prepared the team to play a very tough game," a stunned Yannakis said.
"France is one of the most talented teams in Europe. Some of their players play in the NBA and some in top teams in Europe"
If French coach Claude Bergeaud did not have his team ready to play, Yannakis did.
"We tried to control two things: the transition game and the rebounding of the French team," Yannakis said.
"Most of the game we did that well, so we had a very good win that will help us to qualify to the next round."
France are a team many had expected to challenge for a medal but on this evidence, they will be lucky if they advance to the elimination round.
The result is humiliation for French coach Bergeaud, who must be praying his team is ready to play Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday.
|Dimitrios Diamantidis had 13 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists for Greece|
"It's a very good team, and that was a very bad night for the French team. "Greece didn't allow us to develop our game. We kept the ball too much in our hands, and we couldn't develop our passing game.
"In this case, it's very was easy for the Greek team to stop our drives, because everybody was waiting for the French guys to penetrate.
"We had 21 turnovers. That's too much and you can not do it in a European Championship."
At half-time, a French team which includes San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker had just 14 points on the board.
They connected on just one shot from behind the arc out of 13 attempts and finished a mere seven of 15 (46.6%) from the line.
A basket from Fredric Weis gave France a 6-4 lead, but five straight points by Michail Kakiouzis and a huge effort from the defence sparked a 15-1 Greek run that put the Greeks ahead at 19-7 after one quarter.
They stayed in front the rest of the way.
For the remainder of the contest, Greece displayed a tough, effective defence and competed well as a team, while the French struggled to score from anywhere on the court.
When the lead ballooned to 20 points at 32-12 seconds before half-time, the rout was on.
France's Cyril Julian scored to leave France trailing 32-14 at the break, but when the teams hit the changing rooms, France were just one of eight from three-point range and one of five from the free throw line.
Yannakis had every reason to applaud his players at the half for Greece had shown an excellent game, showing patience and the willingness to push the ball inside.
The Greeks had also spread the points between nine different players in the opening two quarters.
France had nine points midway through the third quarter, more than they scored in each of the first two quarters, but it was not enought to rattle Greece who kept a safe distance of 15 points.
Fine play from Dimitrios Diamantidis helped them move in front by more than 20 points at one stage.
After three quarters, Greece were still in command with a 53-34 advantage and France never mounted a serious challenge after.
Diamantidis led Greece with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Nikos Chatzivrettas and Lazaros Papadopoulos added nine points apiece.
"We had an easy win today," Papadopoulos said.
"We controlled the rebounds and fast-break and that was the key for our win."
Parker was the only player to score in double digits for France with 10 points.
Promising forward Mickael Gelabale and veteran guard Antoine Rigaudeau had seven each.
Weis, who was controversially added to the French team right before the start of the EuroBasket after skipping most of the preparations, said: "The Greek team played very well from the first minute.
"They played very good defence.
"We played good defence, but not very good in offence."
Yannakis, a guard on the country's legendary side that won the European title 18 years ago, may be thinking right about now that his team has the makings of champions.
Next up will be a clash against Slovenia, who beat Bosnia-Herzegovina in their opener.
The Greece v Slovenia contest will be decisive in the battle for the top seed in the group.
France coach Claude Bergeaud is trying to lower expectations ahead of his side's game against Greece on Friday in the EuroBasket opener for both sides.
Hailed as favourites two years ago in Sweden, that French team finished fourth and missed out on the Olympics.
This summer, France won only five of their 10 warm-up games and Bergeaud is stressing his team should not be called favourites.
"The media exposure of our players made everyone think that we had a great team," said Bergeaud in L'Equipe, reflecting on EuroBasket 2003.
|France's front line will have their hands full with Lazaros Papadopoulos|
"Our objective has not changed, we want to finish among the first six to go to the World Championship."
France start with Greece on Friday, and the Greeks have been impressive in the build-up.
On Saturday, Les Bleus take on Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday and Slovenia on Sunday.
"Greece, along with Croatia, have had a huge and excellent preparation," added Bergeaud.
"The Spaniards played all their games at home, which was probably more comfortable for them, but they lost 88-80 to the Greeks, who won everywhere.
"Greece is a very, very tough team whose experience is based on the Euroleague. They are well organised, they score a lot of points, they have a pacey and fast game."
Greece do have the look of a team that is loaded.
Dimitrios Diamantidis and Theodoros Papaloukas are quality guards, as is Nikos Zisis, who was excellent in the win over Spain.
Lazaros Papadopoulos is a strong center.
Greece have a deep team, one that pushed eventual gold medalists Argentina to the limit at last summer's Olympics.
"They have all the qualities of the Euroleague's top teams and their players are used to playing at the highest level," Bergeaud said.
"It will be an enormous culture shock and I really wonder what the issue of that game will be.
"We will have to put ourselves at their level mentally and emotionally."
Bergeaud also expects the Bosnians and Slovenians to pose problems.
"With all the respect we have for Bosnia, if we don't beat them, it means we have no ambition anymore," he said.
"Our last game against Slovenia could be tough. They have shown a great unity. It's hard to point out the favourites it's well balanced and very hard everywhere."
Again, he is keen to play down the talk of medals.
"I think the Turks will be on the podium, they have gained a tremendous experience since 1999," he added.
"The Italians have impressed me. They played 17 preparation matches, it's enormous.
"Are they going to confirm what they've learned or be tired?
"Croatia have very strong players, they are fresh physically and their confidence is high. They are a small nation and they want to unsettle the big basketball teams.
"As far as Serbia is concerned, of course they will finish first or second."
France point guard Tony Parker has arrived in Belgrade intent on one thing. Parker, the point guard of the NBA Champions San Antonio Spurs, wants a medal.
He says their 75-56 victory over Turkey at the Limoges tournament on Sunday should boost their spirit.
"We came back on track at the right time," said Parker, satisfied that his side won their last four consecutive matches, including one against Italy in Milan on Tuesday.
"We are getting better as the European Championships approach.
"Our defeats in recent weeks have helped us learn a lot.
"The most important was to win the match against Turkey easily. We must now continue on that pace and make sure we are ready on the D-Day.
"Motivation played an important role. After five defeats everyone was expecting a reaction from our part. We had worked hard for one month and we did not want to spoilt our efforts. It was time to bounce back."