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.


England try to deny Ireland a Grand Slam

Updated 22 February 2020

England try to deny Ireland a Grand Slam

  • This will be England’s first game at Twickenham since thrashing Ireland 57-15 in a World Cup warm-up match in August

TWICKENHAM: Owen Farrell will attempt to end the Grand Slam hopes of father Andy when England face Ireland in the Six Nations.

Sunday’s match at Twickenham will be the first time the pair have been in opposition since Andy Farrell was appointed Ireland head coach following the team’s disappointing first-round exit at the World Cup.

Promoted from within the setup after Joe Schmidt stood down, Farrell senior has yet to lose as Ireland boss following wins over Scotland and Six Nations title-holders Wales.

Those victories have left the former England dual code international’s current side just 80 minutes away from a Triple Crown.

But they will have to first get past a home team captained by son Owen, with the center a key figure in England’s run to the World Cup final in Japan both as skipper and first-choice goalkicker.

England coach Eddie Jones brought Andy Farrell into rugby union from rugby league while at Saracens, only to dispense with the then assistant coach when he succeeded Stuart Lancaster as Red Rose boss following the hosts’ group-stage departure at the 2015 World Cup. 

The Farrells have grown weary of talking about the family dynamics involved when they are on opposite sides.

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray praised younger Farrell.  “I’ve played against Owen and toured with him with the (British and Irish) Lions. He’s an incredible player. Even with knowledge of the way he plays, he’s still able to pick the right options — that’s what makes him really hard to defend and analyze,” he said.

England haven’t been quite the same side since a stunning World Cup semifinal win over reigning champions New Zealand was followed a week later by a crushing 32-12 defeat by South Africa.

They then suffered a 24-17 loss away to France in their Six Nations opener before a hard-fought 13-6 win over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Jones has shuffled his backs, with Elliot Daly returning to full-back after George Furbank suffered a recurrence of a longstanding hip and groin problem.

Jonathan Joseph, normally a center, will mark his 50th Test cap by making his first start in the wing berth vacated by Daly.

Both Daly and Joseph can expect plenty of aerial bombardment from Ireland in a match where an England win would put them right back in title contention.

But Jones said Daly would cope and that Joseph was “a great defender,” with “good jumping skills.”

Powerhouse center Manu Tuilagi returns after overcoming the minor groin suffered in the defeat by France, while Leicester team-mate Ben Youngs is restored to the starting line for what will be the scrum-half’s 100th international appearance, his 98 England caps supplemented by two for the Lions.

In the pack, Courtney Lawes moves from lock to blindside flanker, with Jones explaining the switch by saying: “Ireland have got a lot of good carriers... One of Courtney’s strengths is his ruck defense.”

Meanwhile Joe Marler comes in at loose-head prop, with Mako Vunipola missing for family reasons.

Ireland were forced into making a late alteration on Friday to what had been an unchanged team when lock Iain Henderson pulled out, his place taken by Devin Toner.

This will be England’s first game at Twickenham since thrashing Ireland 57-15 in a World Cup warm-up match in August.

Ireland, though, completed a Grand Slam at ‘headquarters’ two years ago.

And if they can deny England their favored fast start, while the likes of Tadhg Furlong get on top on the scrum, the Irish could yet enjoy another memorable win.