2012 FIBA Europe
U18 European Championship
France and Russia qualified for final

France have qualified for the FIBA Europe U18 European Championship final for the fourth time in their history after beating the Netherlands (60-47). They will meet Russia in a repeat of the 2002 final, after having qualified by defeating Serbia (75-69).

Spain will meet Turkey in the match for fifth place after seeing off Italy (75-61) and crushing Croatia (92-43).

In the relegation group, with the Czech Republic beating Poland (58-54) they have saved their place in Division A.

In the first semi-final match Russia were behind for most of the game but found their touch during the last seven minutes of the match to overcome Serbia.

Zhanna Byarzova (20 points) from Russia hit 3 three-pointers during the final quarter which also included the one that put Russia in the lead for good (69-68) with five minutes left to play in the game.

The Russians then stepped up defensively and stopped the Serbian play-maker Aleksandra Stanacev (23 points) from getting to the basket.

As a result Serbia's only point in the final five minutes came from a split pair from the charity stripe.

The Russians constructed their victory by using their bench well and taking care of the basketball with just 9 turnovers compared to 15 from their opponents.

You can watch the FIBA highlights from the match:

France had to work hard despite the experience

Marie Mane and Fleur Deviller ©  FIBA Europe

The semi-final match between the Netherlands and France unfortunately was not a classic match. France won (60-47) but had to wait until the final quarter to break down their opponents with a 28-7 run.

The reason for the game was played this way was because this generation of players know each other well since their first meeting at U16 level in 2010, in a game which had 62 free throws.

Since that game both teams have changed and changed their style of basketball and are in 2012 among the elite of youth international basketball.

However the Netherlands are still less experienced than France when it comes to big games. This showed in the final quarter when the Dutch team suffered a 0-10 start that cost them the game. Yet they had dominated France in the third quarter and also had an 8-point advantage.

For France Olivia Epoupa and Lidija Turcinovic had their moments and while Valeriane Ayayi was impressive with 12 points and 12 rebounds. But it was the hard work of Aby Gaye (14 points) that made the difference for France.

Gaye did all the small things that are not recorded in the statistics that stopped the Dutch duo of Isabella Slim and Kourtney Treffers from having a free run, especially in the final quarter.

You may read our match analysis report and watch the highlight video by FIBA Europe below:

Aby Gaye

All started well for the Netherlands with the first points of the game by Kourtney Treffers with the first attack of the game. France did not need much time to get going with Olivia Epoupa storming down the court and feeding a nice pass to Valeriane Ayayi who scored.

France slowly stepped on the accelerator and were on their way (9-2).

A time-out was called by the Netherlands to stop France and change defensive systems. The Netherlands started to mix their zone defense with "2-1-2" half court press.

France struggled a little bit but still had a (17-6 ) lead by the end of the first quarter because the Netherlands were unable to score in the last six minutes.

Oliva Epoupa and Awa Sissoko  ©  FIBA Europe

France were soon 10 points clear after former Paris Basket 18 team-mates Epoupa and Awa Sissoko concluded a fast break 90 seconds in the second quarter (23-13).

The Netherlands' patience in their energetic defense started to pay as France stopped scoring. The Netherlands started to hit with fast breaks and finished the quarter with back-to-back scores by Emese Hof (22-26).

The third quarter was Netherlands youth basketball at its best, excellent defending, fast transitions and a master class in the art of "catch and shoot".

The Netherlands went on a 15-2 run. When Kalziena Guijt hit a three on the buzzer, the Netherlands were in charge (40-32) and flying.

France were a different team in the final quarter. They stopped the Netherlands from scoring a single point during the first four minutes while putting together a 10-0 run to regain the lead (42-40).

The Netherlands were simply beaten at their own game. France were able to break the zone and the press and the Netherlands lost their discipline.

The French players then used their experience to blow away the Netherlands with Gaye dominating the paint.

France led (51-45) with three minutes to play and finished the game hitting 9-from-10 shots from the charity stripes.

For the Netherlands the double-overtime victory in the quarter-final was also a factor as they were unable to compete physically at the end.

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FIBA Europe

Date created: 05 August 2012

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Miskolc U18 Logo

U18 Division A

Final Round

05 August 2012 France are champions for the first time

04 August 2012 Netherland,Russia and Serbia join France in the semi-final

03 August 2012 Netherland,Russia and Serbia join France in the semi-final

Qualifying Round

03 August 2012 France are ready for the big match

01 August 2012 Quarter-final pairing set - Romania in real danger

31 July 2012 The Netherlands and Spain pass, while Greece is out

30 July 2012 France and Turkey qualify for quarter-final

Preliminary Round

28 July 2012 First phase comes to an end - Hosts Romania eliminated

27 July 2012 Belgium, Czech Republic and Poland eliminated from qualifying round

26 July 2012 France, Sweden and Turkey all win in overtime - Belgium start badly

Strumica U18 Logo

U18 Division B

Final Round

05 August 2012 Belarus win title, Portugal promoted

04 August 2012 Promotion for Belarus and England

Qualifying Round

02 August 2012 The semi-final pairing set

01 August 2012 Belarus and Portugal remain unbeaten

Preliminary Round

30 July 2012 First round comes to an end

29 July 2012 Denmark punch ticket for quarter-final

28 July 2012 Four teams book ticket for qualifying round on day 3

27 July 2012 Bulgaria, Germany and Lithuania remain unbeaten

26 July 2012 Good start by the favourites