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Sports

France take on Argentina for place in basketball world cup final

media Vince Collet is trying to steer France into their first basketball world cup final. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The unlikeliest of semi-finals takes place on Friday when France play Argentina for a place in Sunday's world cup final in Beijing. Argentina beat tournament favourites Serbia in the quarter-final while France outwitted the holders the United States.

France coach Vincent Collet said his men would be focused for the clash with the south Americans.

"Five years ago we pulled off an exploit in beating Spain in the quarter-final and we were too happy to play the semi-final. We took 15 minutes to get started. We don't want to make the same mistake against Argentina.

"They are a good side which fights and has a lot of experience. They have been at this stage of the competition many times before. We know they will be very dangerous and we will be ready."

Redemption

Collet is attempting to lead a France side into the world cup final for the first time. Five years ago after beating the hosts 65-52 in Madrid, France slumped to Serbia.

They recovered their poise to edge past Lithuania 95-93 to collect the bronze medal - their best result at the tournament.

"Sometimes you're part of a team that is talented and sometimes you're in a team that isn't talented but is a great group of guys," said France's defensive stalwart Rudy Gobert.

"This team has both. We know that nothing is going to be easy. We don't want to stop at the semi-final. We want to win gold and it is going to get harder but we have the mental strength to accomplish that."

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