France have once again returned to haunt the United States‘ men’s basketball team by beating the heavily-backed Olympic Games favourites in their opening match on Sunday afternoon.
The game was billed as being a head-to-head between two of the pre-Games favourites, though most would have backed the so-called Dream Team of the United States to come out on top.
Instead, though, it was France who claimed a surprise 83-76 victory, throwing the Americans into something of a crisis after just their opening game in Tokyo.
The United States had won 25 Olympic matches on the bounce, last losing in Athens 17 years ago and having to settle for a bronze medal in 2004. This year, though, with an impressive roster, the US have lost three and won just two of the games they’ve played this summer.
Little was thought of their preliminary losses, though, nor was much credit given to their win over Spain in their final warm-up match, but now their problems are clear to see and Olympic gold is already in doubt after just one game.
That the loss came at the hands of France just reopened old wounds for the United States. Two years ago, at the Basketball World Cup, it was the French who beat the US in the quarter-finals. While France have as many as seven players from that squad this summer, the US only have two, but those same wounds have been scratched at again and it’s obvious now that they had yet to heal over fully.
Team USA’s chance to bounce back
The United States face Iran in their next Group B outing, while France will want to build on their opening win when they face Czech Republic. Both games will take place on Wednesday, July 28.
USA‘s game starts at 06:40 CEST and France‘s at the more watchable time for a European audience of 14:00 CEST.