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France beats Italy and is in the semifinals

TItel defender Slovenia sensationally dropped out of the quarter-finals of the European Basketball Championship after a false start and catching up. The team around NBA star Luka Doncic lost 87:90 (39:58) to the blatant outsider Poland in Berlin. For the first time since 2009, a European champion failed so early, when Russia got caught.

The third heavyweight is missing in the semifinals after Serbia with NBA star Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) and Greece with Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) in Slovenia with Doncic (Dallas Mavericks).

The Slovenians disappointed across the board until the break. Strongly playing Poland, overtaken by Finland (59:89) and Serbia (69:96) in the preliminary round, led at times by 23 points. Then the favorites increased and turned the game around in the third quarter (24:6), but the Poles around their best thrower Mateusz Ponitka (26 points) fought back. Doncic (14 points) had to leave the field three minutes before the end after the fifth foul.

Co-favourites France meanwhile struggled to reach the semi-finals of the European Basketball Championship in Berlin. The team around the two NBA stars Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier defeated Italy after extra time in the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Wednesday with 93:85 (77:77, 38:31) and is one year after the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo course to the next medal.

Gobert (19 points and 14 rebounds) and Fournier (17) were in the quarterfinals in front of 6324 spectators – including Germany’s captain Dennis Schröder – guarantors of progress. Top scorer was Thomas Heurtel (20).

Fontecchio misses

Led by the passionate coach Gianmarco Pozzecco, the Italians were unable to pull off another surprise three days after the spectacular coup against top favorites Serbia.

Former Berliner Simone Fontecchio, new signing from NBA club Utah Jazz, was the best Italian thrower together with Marco Spissu (21 points each), but missed his chance in the final phase of regular time with two missed attempts from the free-throw line and another missed throw to decide.

Italy were without key player Danilo Gallinari at the European Championship, who was injured just before the tournament. In the semifinals on Friday (5:15 p.m. on Magenta Sport), France will face Poland.

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