As the French morale slowly dwindled and their Olympic dreams came to a screeching halt, desperation set in. It began when Ronny Turiaf delivered a physical hit on Rudy Fernandez. Nicolas Batum’s errant strike on Juan Carlos Navarro’s groin epitomized their frustration.
Spain defeated France by seven points to advance to the Semifinals against Russia. But they didn’t leave with a newfound respect for the French squad, rather a burgeoning intensity that will surely boil over in their next international match.
Pau Gasol, who totaled 10 points and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes, advised that violence shouldn’t be apart of any basketball game.
“I can understand they are frustrated,” Gasol said. “Lose again against the same team, it must be hard. I understand the frustration but I do not accept these violent offenses. Do not try to hurt.
It’s hard to lose in the quarterfinals of the Olympics but you must try to contain your anger and not to fall into a violence that has no place in our sport.”
While I appreciate the intensity and passion, violence doesn’t have a place in basketball. The ability to maintain your self-composure is a quality that should be lauded, and one that should be present even in the face of defeat. Batum, especially, should be reprimanded for his flagrant foul.
With this being said, I am beyond excited for the next France-Spain grudge match.