As France enter the Olympics with Team USA as their first opponent, French San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker is confident of his country's chances. Parker, with years of experience in playing against the world's best, is doing a good job of trying to instill boldness in his national team.
Rightly so, Parker claims that the Americans can be beaten:
"All teams can be beaten," he said of the United States. "They are not unbeatable. In competition anything can happen."
This type of bravado is normal and what you would expect from a team leader such as Parker. The reality however, is that France is in a very tough position right now. The ten warm-up games they have played over the past month have been a mixed bag of results.
France have amassed a 6-4 record over that period, including two wins over Italy, two losses to heavyweights Spain, expected thrashings of Cote d'Ivoire and Belarus, an embarassing loss to Belgium, tight wins over Great Britain and Brazil and most recently a last second loss to Australia. In short, that is not the type of smooth preparation that head coach Vincent Collet would ideally like.
Does this mean that France has no shot at beating Team USA? France is certainly a classy side, packed with experienced talent. Despite this, only the best of the best, playing their best basketball have any shot at beating the LeBron-Durant-Kobe-led juggernaut.
The best case scenario for France may be in looking to upset their second opponent, Argentina and winning the rest of the way from there in getting to the next round. Parker looks forward to playing Team USA all the same.
"My father is American and I have a lot of family who come from there, it's a special match."
"It's always special to play against the Americans. They are the favourites and will be going out to play at their maximum. It'll be a good match for us to start the Olympics."
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