By Paul Nilsen
|Céline Dumerc caught fire late against Sweden to knock down the decisive shots, something she will have to repeat against Turkey|
France and Turkey are preparing to collide once again in a repeat of their semi-final clash two years ago at EuroBasket Women 2011, with the fans in Orchies hoping for another classic and dramatic showdown
Last Time Out: Turkey were the first to make it into the last four, with their defence laying the foundation for a 55-41 success against Belarus. France relied on a typically game-winning contribution from Celine Dumerc, who bailed out the hosts in the closing minutes against Sweden, by lighting it up from outside to secure a thrilling 87-83 victory.
Key Match Up: Take your pick, since there are some mouth-watering match-ups all over the floor. But maybe with the health of Birsel Vardarli in question after her ankle problem during the last game, it will be Isil Alben going up against Dumerc which could be most decisive clash. They know each other very well and it will be another intriguing match-up - as will be the case if Vardarli enters the action and takes over playmaking duties for Turkey.
Key Stat: The two best defensive teams in the tournament are going head to head - or at least in terms of the number of points that they concede. France allow just 52.9 per game and Turkey are even meaner, giving up a mere 50.9 per game.
|Tugba Palazoglu and Turkey have done it before and will again do everything to sneak past France|
X-Factors: Tempo could be key, since Turkey may be happier playing at a more frenetic pace. France look like they could have the edge in the paint and the hand of Dumerc is likely to still be sizzling after her heroics in the quarter-finals. But, perhaps in a game between two teams who are well drilled, well coached, focused on defence, not prone to errors, very experienced and have played with each other a long time, it will simply come down to who executes in crunch time. Especially since it would be a major surprise if it was not close going into the last three or four minutes. The only other factor could be whether after a monumental game against Sweden, the French pay a heavy price physically and emotionally - even if they don't know it, or think it right now.
From The Camps: "We came pretty much with the same team like last time (in 2011) and the French team has also kept their roster. We knew from the Olympics they have a quality inside offence. At the last EuroBasket Women we won in a great overtime game. I can say that after two years, we will put in the same effort in that we did in the past. We know that in order to win against France, we have to do something extra." Turkish head coach Ceyhun Yildizoglu.
"The styles are quite similar. They have a new player (since last time) in Hollingsworth and they are much stronger inside. They play like us in that they have also been together for a long time. They have the same idea of preparing for the future. I think we are two teams on the same wavelength. We cross each other again and I hope we will succeed, especially after the loss in Poland." France play-caller Pierre Vincent.