Argentina moves to World Cup final, tops France 80-66

Facundo Campazzo of Argentina shoots for a basket against France during their semifinal match at the FIBA Basketball World Cup at the Cadillac Arena in Beijing. (AP Photo)
Updated 13 September 2019

Argentina moves to World Cup final, tops France 80-66

  • Luis Scola scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, sealing the deal with 3-pointers on consecutive possessions down the stretch
  • Gabriel Deck scored 13 points and Facundo Campazzo added 12 for Argentina, a team with no active NBA players on its roster

BEIJING: Luis Scola was asked what Sunday will mean to him, and he didn’t hesitate with the answer.
“Everything,” he said.
The veteran Argentinian forward didn’t need to give more of an explanation. The World Cup is one win away, and Scola made sure his team would have a chance to hoist the trophy.
Scola scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, sealing the deal with 3-pointers on consecutive possessions down the stretch, and Argentina beat France 80-66 on Friday in a World Cup semifinal. Argentina will play Spain in the gold-medal game on Sunday.
Gabriel Deck scored 13 points and Facundo Campazzo added 12 for Argentina, a team with no active NBA players on its roster and still made its first gold-medal game in Olympic or World Cup play since the 2004 Athens Games. And when he made his way to the locker room, Scola was greeted by chants of “M-V-P” from teammates.
He corrected them with a smile: “MBP,” he said. “Most Beautiful Player.”
Indeed, on the court the 39-year-old’s game is still very much a thing of beauty. Showing no signs of fatigue, he played 34 of the 40 minutes and saved his best for the very end.
“Luis told us before every game, including today, that we can win — that we are a tough, tough team to beat,” Argentina center Tayavek Gallizzi said. “Just focus on our game. It’s incredible. At his age he is playing better than all the younger guys.”
Frank Ntilikina and Evan Fournier each scored 16 for France, which will play Australia for the bronze on Sunday. Nando De Colo scored 11 for France, a team that looked nothing like the one that topped the US in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Rudy Gobert, who led France in that win over the Americans, scored only three points against Argentina.
“From the first to the last minute, it was complete domination,” Gobert said, tipping his cap to Argentina.
Both semifinal winners got two days off after their quarterfinal victories. Australia and France both played their quarterfinals on Wednesday, and France coach Vincent Collet said he thought that was a factor.
“I didn’t want to find any excuse, but I think so,” said Collet, who canceled practice Thursday because of his team’s travel demands. “For me, it’s not fair that one team has two days to recover and prepare even if they don’t know the first day who will be the opponent. They know it’ll be one or the other, so they can prepare for both.”
Argentina put together an early 10-0 run to take the lead, and kept it the rest of the way. A 15-point lead got cut to single digits for much of the fourth, when Scola’s back-to-back 3s clinched the outcome.
“It was a great game for us,” Campazzo said.
TIP-INS
France: The French still have a chance to match their best World Cup finish, third in 2014 ... Vincent Poirier took a hard fall under the Argentina basket while fighting for a rebound late in the third quarter. He was able to get to the bench a few moments later. ... France fell to 1-5 against Argentina in major tournaments.
Argentina: Manu Ginobili, the longtime San Antonio standout and the leading Argentina-born scorer in NBA history, was courtside watching his national team. Fellow retired NBA stars Kobe Bryant and Chris Bosh were also courtside. ... It took Scola only 16:45 of playing time to get a double-double; he grabbed his 10th rebound with 21 seconds left in the half and already had 13 points.
REVENGE
Argentina scored a bit of World Cup comeuppance. France and Argentina most recently met in a World Cup just last year — the soccer version. France ousted Argentina in the round of 16, prevailing 4-3 on its way to winning the title.
LOOKING AHEAD
Spain has faced Argentina nine previous times in top-level international competition and has a decided advantage in the rivalry. Spain is 7-2 against Argentina in those meetings, the most recent one being a 19-point win at the Rio Olympics three years ago.
UP NEXT
France: Faces Australia for bronze medal in Beijing on Sunday.
Argentina: Faces Spain for World Cup championship in Beijing on Sunday.


Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

Updated 22 September 2020

Luis Suarez suspected of cheating on Italian exam

  • The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus
  • Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport

ROME: Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is suspected of cheating to pass his Italian language test with the help of his teachers, the Perugia prosecutor’s department in charge of the investigation said on Tuesday.
The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive a passport ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus.
“The investigation showed that the subjects discussed during the exam were agreed beforehand with the candidate and that the grade was awarded to him even before the test,” the prosecutor’s department said in a statement.
Local prosecutor Raffaele Cantone, a former head of Italy’s National Anti-Corruption Authority, had been carrying out an investigation since February into University for Foreigners officials over various irregularities. Suspicions over Suarez were aroused by an overheard conversation.
“But what do you think, that we’re going to fail him? Today I have the last lesson (with Suarez) and I have to prepare it because he barely speaks a word” of Italian, Stefania Spina, one of the people targeted by the investigation, is claimed to have said according to prosecution documents cited by Italian media.
Asked by a colleague what level Suarez “should pass” in Italian, Spina reportedly replied: “He should not, he must, he will pass, because with a salary of 10 million (euros) per season, you can’t make him fail” his exam, “even if he doesn’t know how to conjugate verbs and speak in the infinitive.”
Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said last week a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan’s bid to get an Italian passport.
The Italian champions cannot recruit Suarez otherwise because they have already reached their quota for non-EU players.