|Idan Zalmanson top-scored for Israel with 17 points|
Israel delivered a last performance at the U20 European Championship replete with their finest qualities as a team to beat France 68-55 in the game for 7th place in the tournament on Crete.
Turning Point: Following a rather balanced first half, Israel decided to push up the levels of their trademark mix of speed and aggressiveness. They hassled for every loose ball, contested every French shot or pass and, with Israel leading 34-31, Naor Sharon powered his way to a lay-up to spark a 12-2 Israeli burst which Adam Ariel capped off with a mid-range jumper with 4:34 remaining in the third, putting his team ahead 46-33. The gap would never drop to single-digit levels again, until the final buzzer.
Game Hero: By the time Israel enjoyed their biggest lead in the game, 56-40 early in the fourth, Idan Zalmanson had already collected 15 of his team-high 17 points. The Israeli power forward added seven rebounds and one assist in what was his best display in this tournament.
Stats Don't Lie: Israel proved a point about the importance of anticipation and correct positioning when it comes to securing a rebound and, despite their size disadvantage, grabbed 41 boards to France's 30. They executed swiftly inside and collected 50 of their points in the pain, while France only got 28 points in the key.
The Bottom Line: Israel have made a triumphant return to the top flight of the U20 European Championship after a three-year stay in Division B. France's eighth place in the final standings of the tournament is an improvement on their last year's performance, when they had taken ninth place in Estonia.