France scares away its ghosts and eliminates a defocused Spain

The errors condemn the selection, which had traced 14 points. Without Alba Torrens, eliminated by fouls, they yielded in the equal outcome (64-67).

Johannes and Laura Gil, during the match in Saitama.ARIS MESSINISAFP

Spain died on the edge of its dreams, eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Games by a France that it did not know how to finish off. In that moment of truth that was so conducive to this legendary team in the recent past, this time the ghosts were their own, unusual mistakes that prevented victory, which unleashed the tears of a team that seemed ready for another feat.

The selection had achieved the most difficult thing, a comeback of self-love before the powerful Gaul, who kept so many past affronts, so many desolations of his own. France have lost five consecutive European finals, three of them at the hands of Spain, the last in Valencia a few weeks ago against Serbia. And he came after a first phase tremor, in which he gave in with Japan and the United States. But this time he was going to take his own revenge.

Again in an even ending, again without Alba Torrens. Everything reminded too much of what happened in the recent Eurobasket.

After a good staging, the Spanish momentum was soon overtaken by the size and speed of the French. There are too many pending accounts. Gaby williams scored two triples in a row and then appeared Marine Johannes to touch the alarm. A brutal takeoff that left Spain totally paralyzed.

Suddenly, it was all bad news, one after the other. France stretched its advantage with a devastating partial (3-19 for 19-33), Maite Cazorla had to go to the dressing room with an ugly blow and, to make matters worse, Alba Torrens committed the third foul. In that abyss, the courage not to let go of a train that was advancing at full speed.

Without any confidence from the perimeter, those of Lucas Mondelo successfully searched for their other reference. The continuations of Astou Ndour finally stopped the bleeding and the selection went to rest alive (30-36).

The return of changing rooms did not clarify the panorama. After an unsportsmanlike foul by Sandrine Gruda, who hit Ndour and Laia Palau successively, Spain came close (38-40). But the French slap was once more express, with the genius of Johannes unbridled. Those of Valerie Garnier dominated the rhythm and the sensations and the selection clung to the night in Saitama like a limpet on a rock.

It was Cristina Ouvia, who is signing a Games on a heavenly level, who led the revolution. With a signature defensive claw. And Cazorla, already back from the scare of the first half, the one that materialized it with five consecutive points.

But without Alba, who had committed the fourth, everything was more complicated. Still, Spain, with another triple from Cazorla, managed to complete the comeback, for the first time ahead since dawn. And he brought the game to a completely agonizing end in which the bad news soon returned. An unusual failure by Laura Gil under the ring and Alba’s fifth. And yet, it had to be the magic of Johannes again, with a precious basket on the horn of possession, the one that brought down Spain, which even in the final madness was not finished: Silvia Domnguez handed over the weapons with a bad pass.