Gregg Popovich praised France’s performance following the defeat in the quarter-finals (89-79 victory) of the 2019 FIBA World Cup and believes that Europeans deserve the most great respect for this achievement.
The USA coach has seen his team suffer his first World Cup loss since the semifinals of 2006, the series of 48 consecutive wins – with world titles in 2010 and 2014 – ending.
“All defeats hurt and in a case like this, it hurts all the more, but life goes on,” Popovich said. “It’s very important and we would have loved to win – as any team loves to win in such a tournament, we are all adults, with families and a life next to the sport, so everything will be back to normal.”
US players and coaches were questioned throughout the absentee competition in China. Popovich again spoke about this in a post-match conference, speaking of disrespect towards the French.
“I think it’s a lack of respect to bring this subject to the table, both for France and all our other opponents, France has beaten us, no matter who was present or not,” Popovich said.
“I am extremely proud of these 12 guys who have sacrificed their summer to come here and play for the first time together, they have given of themselves to be on the field and to fight, they deserve recognition. This is not a question of which players the USA had, those who did it did a great job and I am very proud of them. ”
Popovich, whose team will face Serbia for the 5-8 classification matches, continues his analysis of France, the best he has ever seen.
The coach (Vincent) Collet and his group have done a great job, it’s the best team in France I’ve ever seen, because it’s solid on both sides of the field,” said the US technician. “She’s not just an offensive team that’s attacking, it’s not just the fruit of one or two guys, it’s tough on defense, it’s physical, it’s strong individually, and it defends very collective way: by switching, by helping, by fighting rebounds The team is very balanced, I think the French have really done a fantastic job, they have been great tonight. ”
Popovich believes that France owes its success to its greater experience.
“In the end, their experience and accuracy in applying the instructions paid off, congratulations to them,” he concludes.