France secured their place in the U23 World Championship next year with a solid win over Poland, 74-40, in the final game of the 5-7 Crossover of the 2021 Men’s U23 European Championship.
France, led again by Manuel Gomez, came out firing on all cylinders following yesterday’s win over Italy, and had pushed out to a 16-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game before Sebastian Rybak got Poland’s first points on the board. Poland could find no answer to stop Gomez who controlled the tempo and the game for France throughout, aiding his side to win all four quarters 23-10, 20-13, 16-4 and 15-13 and securing their place at the U23 Worlds in Chiba, Japan next year.
18-year-old Gomez top scored with 24 points, with his fellow countrymen Enzo Trabuchet (14) and Mamady Traore (12) also scoring double figures. Poland’s Krzysztof Kozaryna (12 points and 13 rebounds) and Witold Malisiak (11 points and 10 rebounds) both made double-doubles.
France, Poland, and Italy played in a three-way round-robin to determine the 5-7 places. France defeated both Italy and Poland, to finish 5th, and Poland beat Italy by just 1 point, 48-47, to finish 6th, leaving Italy in 7th.
France’s Gomez said:
“Already we did not fulfill our aims because we wanted to play the semi-finals here but hey, it’s in the past so we will be content with 5th place and we will have to do better in the Worlds to take our revenge on Israel and Turkey because we played very badly in those games; and there you have it, I hope we will do better in the Worlds. Thanks for watching the whole family.”
The Championship, organised by IWBF Europe and FIPIC and being run under strict COVID-19 hygiene and safety protocols, is the European Zone’s Qualification Tournament for the Men’s U23 World Championship, which is scheduled to take place in Chiba, Japan next year. Spain, Germany, Israel, Turkey, and France have now qualified for the U23 World Championship.
Image courtesy of FIPC – Augusto Bizzi