ORCHIES (EuroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Sweden didn't win their Quarter-Final battle against hosts France on Thursday night at the EuroBasket Women yet they did achieve something that few other sides have in recent times.
The Swedes made French fans sit on the edge of their seats for all 40 minutes in a game for the ages, and only another heroic display Celine Dumerc saved Les Bleues in an 87-83 triumph.
The game was so tight that players of both teams became emotional after the final buzzer.
France clinched a spot for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women with the victory and stayed on track for a medal, earning a place in the Semi-Finals against Turkey, the team that beat them at the same stage two years ago in Poland.
Sweden's defeat threw into a do-or-die classification round game with Belarus on Friday, with the winner earning a spot in next year's World Championship.
According to Elisabeth Egnell, one of the standout Swedes in a remarkable game of basketball, the Scandinavians did get something out of the game.
"Of course, playing this kind of games is really valuable for us," she said to FIBA.com.
"We haven't played against some of the teams in this tournament before because we haven't had the chance. Nobody wants to play us.
"Now, we have a really good chance. The experience, you can't overestimate the value of experience."
Even so, there was a dissatisfied look on the face of Egnell.
When asked to describe her thoughts in the immediate aftermath, she said: "Right now it's emptiness. We went for a win in this game.
"We knew we could win if we played well. Today, I think we followed the game plan to perfection almost, but couldn't get the win.
"We had more belief in ourselves than the people around us do, so it's nice to also show it to the people here today."
The game will be remembered as one of best ever at a EuroBasket Women.
France were prohibitive favorites, the silver-medal winners at last year's Olympics.
The arena in Orchies was packed, and loud.
Pierre Vincent's side had been mowing down opponents like a scythe slice through wheat yet Sweden coach Lars Johansson and his staff did a remarkable job of preparing their team, and then making an early adjustment that disrupted the French.
With the Swedes trailing 14-4 in the first quarter, Johansson called a timeout and instructed his players to go into an extremely active zone.
France didn’t react well initially and trailed by as many as six points in the first half.
Sweden stayed with the zone the rest of the way.
France trailed 77-74 with 2:16 remaining in the contest when Dumerc, who spent much of the game on the bench with four fouls, nailed a three-ball.
After an offensive foul was called on Anna Barthold in the Swedish lane against Dumerc, the Olympic hero struck again, a full yard behind the arc.
After Frida Eldebrink split a pair of free-throws to reduce the deficit to 80-78, Dumerc rose to occasion yet again with another three-pointer just 41 seconds from the end.
Sweden kept the pressure on but Edwige Lawson-Wade made four free-throws in the last 24 seconds to seal the win.
"Today (Thursday) was really amazing," Egnell said.
"I think the French crowd, they also gave us energy. It was fun to play out there. We said before the game, 'Let's make it a fun day.'
"We did that for 38 minutes at least. It could have been a perfect game."
Egnell, 25, knows the game isn't over for Sweden.
The team has a chance to reach the FIBA World Championship, but it’s going to take an extraordinary effort against a tough Belarus team to make it.
"It's going to take a couple of hours but we know that tomorrow (Friday), we're going to be ready," she said.
"We know there is the ticket to the World Championship, so we need to get our energy back and focus on the next game."