The US had won the past two World Cups and not lost in 58 worldwide games, a run stretching back to 2006.
France spoiled an impressive performance from Donovan Mitchell, Gobert's National Basketball Association teammate, who led Team USA with 29 points. Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier led the way for the French. France advances to play Argentina in the semifinals on Friday.
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The United States, favourites to win their third successive and sixth overall world title, dropped into the 5-8th place playoffs after they failed to reach the medal rounds for the first time since the 2002 tournament in Indianapolis. The Americans rebounded to win gold at the Beijing Olympics two years later and also won the two Olympic tournaments that followed. This version of Team USA will bear no resemblance to the squad that will play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And then the French responded with a 15-2 run over the next five minutes, going up 82-76 on a long jumper by Frank Ntilikina with 2:05 left.
France had been 0-9 against the U.S.in major worldwide play, most of those outcomes one-sided affairs. Jazz center Rudy Gobert patrolled the lane for France, and France's wings secured the perimeter. However, a surge by France snapped that lead. He scored 14 points in the third quarter alone, after Team USA fell behind by double-digits. Marcus Smart made three free throws after getting fouled by Gobert to put the USA back on top, and the Americans took a 66-63 lead into the fourth.
The U.S. led by seven points in the fourth quarter after being down by as much as 10 early in the second half.
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That's not to say that they were not talented, of course. Spain awaits the victor of Wednesday's Australia-Czech Republic game in the other semifinal.
The Americans were beaten in a last-eight clash by the former Yugoslavia in that tournament and they next face Serbia, who were billed as their most likely rival in a gold-medal clash in this year's event. They deserve credit for that just like France deserve credit for winning.
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