After winning silver with Japan among the women, in Tokyo, in 2021, Tom Hovasse intends to “shock the world” during the Paris Olympics, next summer, with the men. With NBAers Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe, it’s not forbidden to dream. The Japanese will not, however, leave with the favor of the predictions in Villeneuve d’Ascq and Paris, they who inherited a group made up of the German world champions, the winner of the TQO in Riga (Latvia?) and the Blues. A French team which should be able to count on a certain Victor Wembanyama.

“Wemby is huge and he’s a great player, but if we focus too much on him we won’t win. We’ll have to see how they build their team. Maybe (Rudy) Gobert and Wemby will play together, maybe not. I don’t know how they will do against us, but Wemby is certainly an interesting player,” says the 57-year-old American technician. And continued: “I like the challenge, the challenge. We will see how our rhythm, our team focused on the game, will resist against him and their team. I love this kind of challenge. We want to shock the world. I think this team is capable of doing it.”

Japan-France will be on July 30, at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium. The two teams have already faced each other seven times, six French victories – the last in August 2023 – and a Japanese success, in 2021, in a friendly, just before the Olympics.