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Euro final pits Spain vs France

BERLIN, Germany (AFP) — Spain edged Germany 96-91 in a Eurobasket semi-final to set up a showdown with the continent’s other recent dominant nation, France, in the final.

World champions Spain, who are using the tournament to rebuild their team, reached their 10th Euro final. They have won three of the last five.

France won their only European crown, led by Tony Parker, in 2013, two years after losing to Spain, led by Pau Gasol, in the final.

On Friday, in the evening’s opening match, France thrashed Poland, 95-54, as NBA star Rudy Gobert dominated defensively and Guerschon Yabusele top-scored with 22 points.

The Olympic silver medalists held the bewildered Poles to just 32 percent shooting.

Poland had created one of the shocks of the tournament by beating Luka Doncic’s Slovenia in the quarter-finals but were swamped in Berlin. Not a single Polish player scored in double figures.

“We wanted to show that we can defend and tonight we proved that we can,” Gobert said.

“If we carry on with the same spirit we can go on and win this thing.”

Gobert and fellow big man Vincent Poirier allowed the Poles little space inside and Real Madrid’s Yabusele and NBA small forward Evan Fournier were clinical in attack for the French.

Hosts Germany led Spain by seven points in the fourth quarter but neither the support of 14,000 spectators nor 30 points from point guard Dennis Schroeder were enough to hold off the Spanish.

Naturalized American point guard Lorenzo Brown scored 29 points for a Spanish squad with eight of its 12 players appearing in a first international tournament.

One veteran Rudy Fernandez, 37, was carried off the court by his teammates after reaching his fifth Eurobasket final.

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