|"There is no worse defeat. By one point, at home against the Spanish...there is no worse scenario" - Céline Dumerc|
Basketball fans waking up in Spain and France on Monday morning were greeted with contrasting images and reflections of what had happened in Orchies, France an evening earlier.
In what was supposed to be France's night on home soil - a relatively unheralded Spanish team turned the French party into a Spanish Fiesta, defeating the hosts 70-69 in the gold medal game.
The gold medal came as something of a surprise for the Spanish, whilst anything but gold was always going to be digested as something of a disappointment for the heavily favoured French - views that were reflected in newspapers across both countries.
In Spain, Mundo Deportivo lauded the tournament as the perfect championship with the perfect end, alluding to the fact that the Spaniards went unbeaten through the course of the tournament. The story also made mention of the fact that only one other country in history, the former Soviet Union, has held both the men's and women's EuroBasket trophies concurrently, adding, "let's see what happens in September at EuroBasket."
In addition, the article made mention of the fact that Laura Gil has now achieved a feat that no other Spanish player has managed by winning European gold at U16, U18, U20 and now senior level.
The newspaper also left its readers in no doubt as to who will take over leadership of the team following Valdemoro's retirement writing, "Alba Torrens takes over from Amaya Valdemoro and will be the leader in the future," before quoting Torrens as saying: "After more than one year fighting to recover from the knee injury, I can say I'm back."
|"After more than one year fighting to recover from the knee injury, I can say I'm back" - Alba Torrens|
El Pais was keeping with the theme of dreams, using the headline "Sometimes Dreams Come True." The story quoted the Spanish team mantra which was "our power is the TEAM."
The newspaper also quotes Silvia Dominguez, who is now reigning European club and national-team champion, boldly claiming: "After two weak years (no qualification for Olympic Games), we have put Spain on top, where she belongs, and were she will stay for long time."
The mood in the French media was a little more somber with Le Monde pointing out that for a second year in a row head coach Pierre Vincent had come up one step short of his goal by failing to win gold at the Olympics and by now failing to win EuroBasket Women back on home soil. Celine Dumerc, who was quoted in the article, was not mincing her words when it came to describing her emotions: "There is no worse defeat. By one point, at home against the Spanish...there is no worse scenario."
There was due credit given to the Spanish game, which they believed the French failed to find a flaw in.
Ouest France wrote that the loss this year was far more bitter than their gold medal loss to USA at the Olympics. This time victory was well within the reach of the French, but stage fright was suggested as perhaps one of the problems for France who had eight turnovers in the first quarter alone.
L'Equipe described the French as being talented, courageous and generous, but unable to add another adjective to the list: collectors. "The story was written, nothing could prevent them [France] from winning their third European title at home. Nothing, except Spain."
Despite the loss, L'Equipe pointed out that the tournament could be considered a success, with approximately 3.3 million viewers watching the game on France 3 - approximately 14.5% of Sunday evening's audience share, numbers high enough for the broadcaster to agree to show more games in the future.