Belgium caused the upset of the 2018 FIBAWWC by beating hosts Spain, of course after Nigeria’s fairy tale story. The debutants have their eyes set on the semis, but first they must scale the experienced French hurdle after overcoming Eurobasket champions, Spain to finish top in their group.
The world number 3 on the FIBA World Rankings, France, who finished runners up to Canada in Group A despite their pedigree surprisingly haven’t made it to the semi final since the inaugural FIBA Women’s World Cup in 1953 were they came 3rd.
The World number 3 are on their 10th campaign hoping to get the semifinals for the first time in 65 years.
HEAD TO HEAD
Belgium and France have never met at the FIBA Women’s World Cup. But have met twice at the women Eurobasket (continental championships) in 1950 and 1962 with France taking both games
Belgium 44-54 France ( Soviet Union1962)
France 50-45 Belgium (Soviet Union 1950)
KEYS TO WIN
Outside Scoring : Belgium is one of the most efficient 3 points shooting teams in Spain with 35.1% accuracy. Antonia Delaere and Julie Valoo will need their snipe shots accurate in the quarterfinals.
Rebounding: Double Double machine Emma Messeman has made it a trade to take advantage of 2nd chance scoring opportunities at the tournament. The Power Forward is averaging 16 points and 13.3 rebounds per game.
Physicality: France has an edge in hustle and grit which they have used to their advantage. Coach Valerie Granier will have her girls battle hard down low with a Belgian side who pick up lots of rebounds especially on the defensive glass.
Inside Scoring: Sandrine Gruda has been the pinnacle of the French play, along side PF Edene Miyem and Diandra Tchatchaouang punishing the Belgians from inside.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Belgium: Emma Messeman, Hanne Mestdagh
France: Sandrine Gruda, Olivia Epoupa
Written by Femi Adefeso. Twitter handle: @IncredibleFemi