With his team already advancing to the quarterfinal round, France’s national team head coach Vincent Collet chose to rest two of his starters for a reason.
He felt that it’s better for his team to be as healthy as possible heading into the next round where all the teams will start from scratch; the game against Spain was practically a non-bearing.
“Noah got a hit in the calf and he wanted to play, but the doctor said no,” Collet said. “Tony has played more than 30 minutes in each of the previous games and he needed a rest.”
Mickael Gelabale was also out with a previous knee injury.
Even with San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker and Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah not playing, France led 22-21 after the first quarter and stayed within one at halftime.
However, the Spaniards used a big third quarter surge to run away with the win and send France its first defeat of the tournament.
The defending champions broke open the game against France with a 27-4 run in the third quarter and eventually won the game, 96-69 to take first place in their second-round group.
Kevin Seraphin of the Washing Wizards led France with 18 points, while Spurs draftee Nando De Colo had 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal in 27 minutes of play.
Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers added nine points for Team France.
Juan Carlos Navarro made all four of his 3-point attempts and finished with 16 points, while Rudy Fernandez had 15 points for Spain.
Pau Gasol had 11 points in 18 minutes and brother Marc Gasol added nine points in 21 minutes of action for the Spaniards.
The two finalists will clinch spots at the London Olympics, while the next four teams will play in an additional qualifying tournament next year.