Will France shine as best Euro team in 2016 Summer Olympics?

Is “Les Bleus” the best European basketball team in Rio De Janiero?

France basketball at halftime

Halftime” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  manumilou 

If truth be told, France should already have their place at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro fully booked. But the fact of the matter is, they don’t. Les Bleus are good enough to win a medal of some kind this summer but must remain fully focused on securing qualification for the big event. Ultimately, it is do or die time for France. Win and they’re in. Anything less and they won’t be featuring in Rio this summer.

The new format to fill out the Olympics means that 18 countries are still in the running for three spots in Rio this summer. Essentially, these nations have been split into three pools of six teams – with one spot coming from each pool. And to be completely honest, France’s group looks relatively straightforward. At least, it does on paper…

France won the bronze medal at the Basketball World Cup two years ago and shouldn’t be in their current predicament. They fell short last summer and may go on to pay the price for their tricky build-up to the Olympics – even if they do go on and qualify as expected. Ultimately, France have underperformed since their brilliant performance at the World Cup and only a convincing effort in the qualifiers will send out a clear statement of intent.

And despite their current predicament, France are highly regarded in the betting markets. In fact, basketball betting odds for Rio show that France are priced at 7/1 to win this summer’s tournament. While they may qualify, victory could be a little far-fetched, especially considering the strength and form of the United States national side.

According to the world rankings, France are the fifth best team on the planet but they could achieve great things this summer. In fact, they could actually topple the likes of Italy, Serbia and Greece and finish as the best European team in the competition. It would be a fantastic achievement, particularly when you consider their lack of preparation after such a late qualifying campaign.


France have already landed in Manila and will be ready for the beginning of the competition. In order to secure their place in Rio, they must beat the Philippines and New Zealand in Group B before advancing past Turkey, Canada or Senegal in the semi-finals and final. On paper, France shouldn’t have too many problems but sport is unpredictable at times; you never quite know what you’re going to get…

But France do have one crucial aspect on their side: experience. Tony Parker is one of the NBA’s greatest stars and he will be eager to cap his international career with an Olympic medal. The French talisman is one of the best in the business and the arrival of Nicolas Batum will also help their chances of success. Ultimately, these two NBA players can lead France to victory next week and from there, Olympic glory could beckon.

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