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2023 FIBA World Cup

Nic Batum’s shame: France’s premature exit from World Cup leaves captain disheartened


Nicolas Batum shouldered the blame for letting down the French basketball fans after failing to guide Les Bleus past the first round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

This disappointment followed a painful 88-86 loss to Latvia, despite maintaining a lead for most of the match. The upset occurred in the final minute when Latvia mounted a comeback.

“It’s a huge disappointment for us. We came here with big expectations. We let a lot of people down,” said the 34-year-old Batum, who is participating in his fourth World Cup.

“Today was a big reality check for us. When you come wearing the blue and white jersey with that name in front, that’s the biggest part of this. It’s the name on that jersey. And we didn’t do it the last couple of weeks.”

This marked the first instance of France missing the podium in the World Cup since securing consecutive bronzes in the 2014 and 2019 tournaments.

While reflecting on his role as France’s team captain and what he could have executed better, Batum tipped his hat to Latvia for their tenacious performance.

“Me with Nanco [De Colo], Rudy [Gobert], and Evan [Fournier], we have to understand what we have to do better for this team.

“Congrats to Latvia. They earned it. They did a good job,” he said.

Batum acknowledged that France failed to find their rhythm and eagerly anticipated returning home to France to better prepare for upcoming tournaments.

“We’ve beaten some big teams in the past but if we don’t come with the right mindset, we can lose against anybody. That’s the beauty of basketball,” he said.

“That’s a good kick in the butt for us. Now we have to understand why.”

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