France reached their fourth consecutive final in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Women’s EuroBasket in Serbia tonight with a 63-56 win over Britain in Belgrade Arena.
The French have lost the past three finals to Serbia or Spain and with those teams meeting in the second semi-final, possible revenge was on the cards for them whatever the result.
In the end it was Spain, the defending champions, who came through to defeat the hosts 71-66 in front of a passionate home crowd.
France and Spain have met in the final of this competition three times, in 1993, 2013 and 2017, with the Spanish winning on each occasion.
Marine Johannes was the key player in the French win as she scored 20 points for the first time in an international.
Rachel Vanderwal, with 12 points, was top scorer for Britain, who face Serbia tomorrow in the third-place game.
“We are the only team to make four finals in a row and this is great,” said French head coach Valerie Garnier.
“French basketball is great."
Spain's guard, Silvia Dominguez, told FIBA: "I don't want to talk about statistics – only playing in this atmosphere with 7,000 to 8,000 people and it felt like even more.
"I want to talk about the heart of our team.
"In the last minutes of the game, Serbia went up but we kept calm and fought to win.
"It is incredible what we are doing in these last years and to once again be in the final."
Earlier in the day Belgium, and Sweden had earned a passage to the Olympic qualifying tournament with victories over Hungary, 72-56, and Russia, 57-52, respectively.