The stage is set for the EuroBasket 2022 finals where Spain and France will face off for the gold medal.
France was dominant in its semifinal match-up with Poland as it won by 41 points, 95-54, after going through two overtime games in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals. It was the perfect night for the French side as they shot 62.1% from the field while they limited their opponents to just 32.1% shooting.
The comfortable margin allowed them to keep their players fresh for the upcoming final round and no player recorded more than Guerschon Yabusele’s 23 minutes. Yabusele, who suited up for the Boston Celtics from 2017 to 2019, led France with 22 points, four three-pointers four rebounds, and two steals.
Ellie Okobo and Evan Fournier scored 10 points apiece then six other French players contributed at least 6 of their own.
Meanwhile, Spain’s semifinal clash with the host team Germany was not as smooth and went down the wire before they pulled through with a 96-91 win. Germany led by as much as 10 points late in the third quarter before Spain used a 13-0 run to take back control of the match.
Spain’s naturalized player Lorenzo Brown led the way for them with 29 points and six assists and Juancho Hernangomez scored seven of his 13 points in the decisive fourth quarter. Willy Hernangomez, Spain’s leading scorer in this tournament, added 16 points and four rebounds and reserve guard Alberto Diaz chipped in with 10 points.
Dennis Schroder, whose new one-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers was announced right after the loss, led the charge for Germany with 30 points and eight assists. Franz Wagner and Andreas Obst added 15 points apiece and Daniel Theis contributed 10 of his own.
Come the final, the battle between W. Hernangomez and Rudy Gobert is expected to take center stage. The 28-year-old Hernangomez is averaging 17.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in this tournament. He has been a dominant force inside for Spain, but will be facing his toughest opponent yet over these past three weeks in the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Gobert.
France’s starting center has put up 13.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in eight games in this EuroBasket meet and has been a steadying presence for them in the paint. If Gobert’s defensive acumen can limit the effectiveness of Hernangomez, France should be in a prime position to take home the gold medal.
Another intriguing match-up will be the one between J. Hernangomez and Yabusele who play a rather similar brand of basketball and are both taller forwards with a decent shooting touch. They have both shown an ability to score in bunches when they get hot and if either of them can get an early rhythm, it may very well dictate the outcome of the match.
There are many talented guards as well in this match-up from Spain’s Brown and 37-year-old veteran Rudy Fernandez to France’s Fournier and 33-year-old Thomas Huertel. Brown and Fournier have been the most consistent perimeter players on their respective teams in this tourney and will be heavily relied on in their bid for a gold medal.
The veterans Fernandez and Huertel may not be as dynamic as they once were, but have proven in this EuroBasket that they can still step up from time to time.
Spain will be gunning for its fourth EuroBasket title since 2009 while France, also last year’s Olympic silver medalist, hopes to claim its second after winning in 2013. These two programs have been the toast of the region over the past few years and are more likely than not to put on a fantastic show in their battle for the gold medal.