It’s a big blow for the Blue basketball. Three weeks before the World Cup in Australia (September 22 to 1er October), Sandrine Gruda was forced to withdraw on Tuesday August 30 for a left calf injury. At 35, the captain and top scorer in the history of the France team, with 2,784 points in 215 selections, felt pain before taking additional exams on Monday. They have « revealed a muscle injury, which will not allow him to be in full possession of his faculties in the coming weeks »explained the French Basketball Federation (FFBB) in a press release.
The coach, Jean-Aimé Toupane, has no plans to replace Gruda in the group of 17 players pre-selected for the World Cup and which will be reduced to 12 elements.
This package from the new Lyon-Asvel player deprives the France team of its main strike force inside. With her, Les Bleues were European champions in 2009, finalists in four other editions (2013, 2015, 2019, 2021) and won two Olympic medals, silver in 2012 and bronze in the summer of 2021 in Tokyo.
A raised group
In Sydney, where all the meetings of the World Cup will take place, the French have been placed in a strong group: they will face Serbia, their executioner in the final of Euro 2021 in France, Australia, vice-world champion in title which will be supported by its public, Japan, which beat them in the semi-finals of the last Olympics, as well as Canada and Mali.
The first four teams are qualified for the quarter-finals, but the last folding seat is to be avoided in order to very probably spare the United States, big favorites of the other group.
In a preparation match for the World Cup, the French basketball players will face the Belgians on Sunday in Pau before meeting them four days later on their ground in Kortrijk and flying on September 9 to Australia. There, three preparation meetings are planned, against Australia (September 16), Belgium again (18) and the United States (19).