The Russian women´s wait for a first major title since the breakup of the Soviet Union is over.
Russia, taking on the unbeaten Czech Republic in the final of the European Championships in Greece, snatched the gold medal in a 59-56 thriller.
Pre-tournament favourites Russia ended Spain´s dream run at the European Championships on Saturday night to reach the final - and qualify for the Olympics.
Riding the hot hands of Olga Artechina and Elena Baranova, who repeatedly hurt the Spanish with three-point shots at crucial times, Vadim Kapranov´s troops returned to a title game for the third year running.
Russia were slow out of the gate but they galloped home and into the semi-finals of the European Championships with a 79-66 triumph over holders France.
Alain Jardel admitted before the tournament that his side probably wouldn´t retain the title and his players proved him right though they can´t be faulted for effort.
France coach Alain Jardel insists tournament favourites Russia will not intimidate his fast-improving outfit in Friday night’s quarter-final showdown.
"Russia are capable of the best as well as of the worst," Jardel said on Friday. “They are not invincible, everything is possible.”
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