France have been eliminated from the FIBA Basketball World Cup after back-to-back losses to Canada and Latvia and French national veteran Nicolas Batum shared his honest thoughts on his team’s efforts.
“When you lose in the semis or quarterfinals, it’s different. I mean, at least you compete,” Batum said, via The Associated Press. “We didn’t even get past the first round. We have high expectations. I’m ashamed.”
Previously, France had finished third at the last two World Cups and because Latvia beat Lebanon in its opening game and France lost their two group stage games, it spelled an early exit for France.
“We’ve been together, we’ve been putting something in place for years…” Batum said per L’Équipe. “I screwed up my last World Cup and it really pisses me off.
They went into this year’s tournament ranked fifth by FIBA and but fumbled the bag majorly in their opening game against Canada and lost by 30 points – which equates to largest loss by the country’s top team in a major event since 1987.
“I’ve never been ashamed with this jersey, but this is the first time I’m ashamed,” Batum said, via CBS Sports. “I’m scared to go home because we let a lot of people down. A lot of people believed in us to do something special. We didn’t do it.”
The French have been one of the European powerhouses of international basketball in recent years, after winning silver at the 2022 EuroBasket, silver at the 2020 Olympics and bronze at the 2019 World Cup.
“It’s very hard,” Evan Fournier said, via The Associated Press. “Very tough. Not much to say. We didn’t think we would leave the tournament like this. We have to learn from it and come back next year. There isn’t anything else to do.”