Nando De Colo after France's World Cup debacle: 'I'm sure they won't fire everybody'

Giorgos Kyriakidis
Staff Writer
2023-09-03 06:59

Nando De Colo addressed France's failure at the World Cup and made a witty remark regarding the squad's future. He also revealed he's set an end date for his tenure with Les Bleus.

Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

There has been much discussion about what exactly went south for France in the 2023 World Cup and last year's EuroBasket finalists didn't qualify for the Round of 16.

The two losses to Canada and Latvia derailed Vincent Collet's team early in the tournament and from that point, there was no going back. France was relegated to places 17-32 and ended up 18th, their worst placement ever. 

In this context, hosting the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris can sweeten the pill a little bit. Still, it's clear that certain decisions will be made by the French federation with regard to how the squad will appear in the next big event. Vincent Collet's place on the bench doesn't seem to be a lock, while players like Moustapha Fall have expressed concerns about their playing time and their role on the team. 

Nando De Colo missed the 2022 EuroBasket, but came back to the NT for the World Cup. The top scorer in European club Competitions history led his country to the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, averaging 16.5 points per game.

A far cry from the 8.6 points and 4.6 assists De Colo put up per game in Jakarta, where France played the group stage. His ejection in the game against Latvia was a real game-changer, as France were holding on to a nine-point lead when that happened. 

Reflecting on France's woes in the tournament, De Colo, 36, told BasketNews he doesn't think there's one particular thing to blame.

"It's about the future in general," he said. "For sure, we all have an individual responsibility to take care of. But in the end, we were just lost in the first game and let the second game go away. At that point, the tournament was already over," he added.

In his statements to the French media in Jakarta, De Colo elaborated on his ejection in the decisive game vs. Latvia, expressing his surprise at the fact that he was charged with two unsportsmanlike fouls.

But a few minutes later, after being asked whether he takes the blame for anything in particular, he provided a 'neutral' answer.

"We all can do more on the court," he replied. "That's always the question when you lose. But now we can think about a lot of things."

As French players will take some time off before joining their clubs for pre-season training camp, some of them have already started to think about the next challenge. The Paris Olympics have been heralded as France's big bet. Rudy Gobert said the squad needs to regroup and appear stronger next year.

De Colo appeared more reserved.

"We will see," he said. "The first thing is to stay together. I hope we lost today to be better tomorrow. But it will be a long way to go. We know we have the Olympic Games ahead of us. So, that's one goal we've already achieved. But we also need to get ready for that."

Following the elimination, the team's captain, Nicolas Batum, attacked the French Basketball Federation for not allowing Thomas Heurtel to represent the squad.

"We need everyone in Paris, the best conditions, everyone. I don't give a damn about politics, we need the best team possible in France," he told beIN Sports after the game against Latvia.

Batum himself has stated that the Olympics will be his last tournament with France. According to his wife, Aurelie, the 34-year-old intends to not only retire from the national team but from pro basketball overall. 

However, apart from Heurtel, there are more question marks surrounding the future of the French NT. For instance, will Joel Embiid choose to play for them? Will Victor Wembanyama be available next summer after skipping the World Cup? Will Collet stay at the helm?

"Sometimes, you miss players due to injury, sometimes because they don't want to come, sometimes because there's a ban," general manager Boris Diaw recently commented.

"Depending on why the person isn't there, all you can do is have 12 guys and try to win. The problem is that we lost with the players that were there."

Credit FIBA

De Colo pointed out that the main priority is for France to stay together both as a unit and as a roster.

"As everything," he clarified. "We don't know what roster we will have next summer, but I'm sure they won't fire everybody," he went on to say with a chuckle.

"So, we need to come back from that and remember what happened this summer."

Having won five international medals and two EuroLeague titles (2016, 2019), De Colo is contemplating an ideal finish in the 2024 Paris Olympics, which would be the end of his national team career. Even though it has been hinted, the veteran guard spilled the beans in Indonesia when asked by BasketNews whether he's set a deadline for retirement from Les Bleus.

"Yeah, next summer," he said. "And that's it."


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