ALMERIA (EuroBasket 2011) - Spain will host France in a mouthwatering friendly on Tuesday as both sides continue their preparations for the EuroBasket.
Spain hammered France at the EuroBasket in Poland two years ago on their way to the gold medal, but Les Bleus turned the tables and upset the Spaniards on the opening day of last year's FIBA World Championship in Turkey.
The coach of Spain, Sergio Scariolo, has a lot of respect for a French team that has Tony Parker, Joakim Noah and a lot of other excellent players.
"France has always been a rival capable of fighting for the medals but this year, they have a super team that is complete with every position that is well covered," Scariolo said.
"It is a team that is among the favorites to win the EuroBasket.
"They have a number of NBA players performing at a high level. "
Spain are hoping to reach the EuroBasket Final in Lithuania to qualify for the London Olympics and their workouts have so far been very productive.
African center Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who once played for Manresa and has been naturalized, is trying to fit into the squad.
"We have not had any physical accidents, or any absences, and that's a unique event," Scariolo said.
"It's been necessary to work with great intensity and concentration ...
"We have been fortunate to start together from the outset.
"We have started later than other teams but this is because players on vacation had individual physical work plans so they arrived in very good shape."
For France, meanwhile, Parker will wear the national team shirt for the 100th time.
Vincent Collet's French team has won the only two friendly games it has played this summer against Canada, while Spain will be competing in its first warm-up game.
Spain will host Lithuania in Madrid on Saturday night.
Both Spain and Lithuania are in Group A of the EuroBasket with Turkey, Great Britain, Poland and a team that wins the Additional Qualifying Round.
France are in Group B with Israel, Latvia, Serbia, Germany and Italy.