Serbia claim bronze in first ever Olympic Games appearance

Serbia will be stepping on to the Olympic podium on their first attempt, by beating France 70-63 in the bronze medal game at the Carioca Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

It’s a remarkable turnaround for the Serbian side, who began the women’s basketball tournament at Rio 2016, 0-3 and looked seemingly down and out but secured the final two wins needed to advance to the knockout stages and then they sent shockwaves around the Olympics by beating the world number two side Australia, a team accustomed to winning medals themselves.

But this is Serbia’s time in the spotlight along with the USA and Spain, who will be battling it out in the gold medal game later.

In a closely fought battle that saw both sides deadlocked at 27-27 at half-time, Serbia managed to hold France scoreless in the final four minutes of the third quarter, leading 55-42 heading in the deciding period and eventually holding on.

Jelena Milovanovic paced Serbia with 18 points, with Endy Miyem leading France with 18 herself as they were unable to land a second straight podium finish by ending Rio 2016 in fourth.

“This means the world to us,” Milovanovic said. “This is a dream come true to us and I am really happy to be a part of this team. This is great for our country and I hope little girls will be encouraged to play basketball because this is a beautiful sport.”