|Marco Laganà led the charde for Italy with 16 points|
Italy came back from 13 points down on Tuesday to defeat France 76-70 in the opening encounter of First Round Group D at the Sportland U20 European Championship, in Tallinn.
Livio Jean-Charles scored 10 of his 14 points in the first quarter and France started pulling off early, holding a thirteen-point lead at the start of the second quarter.
The gritty Italians however, the smallest team in the tournament with just three players over two meters, gave signs that they would not just roll over by reducing the gap to just two points midway through the second period.
Les Bleus held a six-point lead at half-time and scored the first five points in the third quarter to take a 47-38 lead, when Italy decided they had to make the life a bit more difficult for their opponents.
The Azzurri pressed the French guards relentlessly in three quarters of the court and tied the scores at 47 on a Stefano Tonut three-pointer, their third consecutive in the period, with 4:23 left to play in the third frame.
A lay-up from Aristide Landi on the next possession gave them their first lead in almost 25 minutes, but Hugo Invernizzi with two free-throws and a triple helped France snap out of their dry spell and tie the scores at 54 at the end of the third quarter.
Marco Laganà restored Italy in the driver's seat with a free-throw on their first possession in the final frame, and while his team only led by a maximum of seven points, they never allowed the French to reclaim the lead until the final buzzer.
Laganà led the charge for the winners with 16 points and six rebounds, Awudu Abass had 13 points and six boards, while Matteo Imbrò and Matteo Chillo chipped in with 11 points apiece.
Invernizzi and Mouhammadou Jaiteh had 15 points each for France, the latter also collecting a game-high eight rebounds.