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France v Greece. 2011 EuroBasket, Quarter Final Round. 15 September 2011
FRA - France line up clashes with Spain, USA ahead of Games

PARIS (Olympics) - When France take to the court on 29 July 2012 for their first fixture at the London Games, they will end a 12-year absence from the Olympics.

However, the French - silver medallists in Sydney in 2000 - aren't content with just making it back to the Olympic Basketball Tournament.

Coming off an impressive run to the Final of the EuroBasket, Vincent Collet's charges will want to carry that momentum and add to their medal cabinet.

To that end, they are looking to make their preparations ahead of the London Games as challenging as possible by facing the very best - the reigning world and Olympic champions USA and the two-time defending European champions Spain.

Speaking to French sports daily L'Equipe this week, French Basketball Federation (FFBB) President Jean-Pierre Siutat gave an idea of what the men's national team's schedule of warm-up games will be like.

"The calendar has yet to be finalised, but it looks as though we will go and play Spain in early July and we have agreed on a return leg in France, in theory on 15 July," he said.

"The preparations will consist of seven to nine games in France."

France, who lost twice to Spain in Lithuania, will not lack in motivation in their double-header against the 2008 Olympic runners-up, even if the games will just be exhibitions.

Siutat is also hopeful that a showdown with Mike Krzyzewski's USA can be agreed, but admitted nothing is finalised just yet.

"We were solicited by Team USA and the NBA back in November 2010. A that time, it was difficult to make a decision because we didn't know if we were going to qualify for the Games. So we took an option with them that we would play them if we qualified," he recalled.

"The day we qualified for the Final of EuroBasket - and as a consequence for the Olympics - we confirmed that option but it turns out it's not that simple.

"Team USA would like to limit the number of games they play in Europe as they already have two against Spain and one in Manchester (against Great Britain).

"We're putting some pressure on to get that game with the date set for 24 July. So let’s see."

Aside from Spain and the USA, Siutat said it's hard to know what other teams France will face in their preparations.

"We have the main lines of the schedule and now we have to find our opponents which isn't easy. You have teams like us automatically qualified for the Olympics, then the ones that have to go through the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and then those that will compete in the qualifying for EuroBasket 2013," he explained.


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