France beat Croatia 87-79 behind 24 points from their superstar Tony Parker who also dished out 6 asissts while Batum added 18 points and 5 rebounds.
In the beginning of the game Croatia ran the court rather well, with Popovic starting and with the help of Banic he led Croatia to a 21-19 lead at the end of the first quarter. The same happened in the second quarter, Croatia was keeping up their pace while France struggled to keep close. Croatia took big leads, 31-23 and 42-35 but then eventually went to the locker rooms at half time leading by just five points, 46-41.
The half time teamtalk obviously affected the French players and especially Parker, and with a quick 10-2 run in the first three minutes of the second half France took the lead, 45-44. This caused Croatian players to lose their clear heads and started playing in a rather sloppy fashion while France was finding solutions both in defense and offense.
In the last quarter and with seven minutes to go, France took a 12 points lead, 70-58. Croatia reacted and with a 7-0 run made the score 65-70 but Batum scored a decisive threepointer for France to re-establish a safe elad for his team and finish off the struggling Croats. Final score was 87-79.
FRANCE 87-79 CROATIA
Roko Leni Ukic (Croatia): "It was very tough game. They are a very athletic team. They have the incredible Tony Parker who is very hard to stop. They had a good shooting day, scoring a lot of points from the outside."
Vincent Collet (France Coach): "We lost the first half. In the second half we went back to playing tough defense. We kept the control. We finished the game with a good shooting percentage."
Jasmin Repesa (Croatia Coach): "I'm satisfied how we played the first 13 minutes. The start of the second half was the key point of the game. We lost control of the game and of ourselves. It was very difficult to get back into the game. The first minutes of the game were our best in Poland. The game against Germany will be the key one for us."