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France stun hosts Spain to book FIBA World Cup semi-final spot

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basketball 2014Madrid :  France produced the shock result of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup after defeating hosts Spain 65-52 to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition.

Spain were clear favourites to qualify after having beaten the French 88-64 in their meeting in the group phase, but as some of the Spain players had warned in the preparation for the competition, things were much different in the knockout stage, reports Xinhua.

Pau Gasol, although still Spain’s most effective player, was below his best after struggling with injury in the past few days.

Gasol netted 17 points and collected eight rebounds, but with his brother Marc, who became a father Tuesday, and Serge Ibaka, well controlled by a much tougher French defence, Spain’s usually dominant inside play was negated.

With the inside play not working Spain needed to work the French from outside the zone, but their guards, whose weakness from outside of the zone in this competition had been masked by the form of their forwards, had their worst day to date and netted just two out of 22 three-point throws, less than what France power forward, Boris Diaw managed on his own.

Spain had threatened to take the game in the third quarter, before the French defence got back in control in the last 10 minutes to stun the packed house in Madrid’s Palacio de Deportes and book a semi-final tie against Serbia.

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