USA Collides with Australia, France Faces Russia in London Olympics Semifinals

The women’s basketball competition of the 2012 London Olympics reaches its medal round today as the top four teams in the tournament continue their bid to get the gold in the biennial event.

Tournament favorite USA collides with Australia in the first semifinals match of the day in a rematch of their past four medal round encounters.

But unlike in the past three Olympics, the two teams will not fight for the gold medal after Australia failed to win in their group, which puts them in an early encounter with the American, who looked invincible in the preliminary round.

But despite having an easy ride to the semifinals and being the heavy favorite, USA guard Sue Bird said that they don’t have time to relax on their laurels against the Opals in a final-four matchup.

“I can just say for us, historically in my experience, the Semi-Final game has been the most difficult,” Bird said. “It’s the game where if you lose, you get nothing in terms of the gold medal. So, it’s the game that is probably the hardest to play in the tournament for whatever reason.”

Australian star Lauren Jackson, on the other hand, admitted that it will be weird that they will not face USA in a non-gold medal match, but they vowed to give all they’ve got to have a chance against the Americans.

Meanwhile, in the other semifinal match, France will collide with Russia in a familiar European showdown.

France, who went undefeated in six games in the tournament, will be heading to the game as the favorite, but the Russians are ready to give them a run for their money.

France head coach Pierre Vincent is expecting a tough challenge from Russia, but he is hoping that they can pick up from where they left off in their preliminary round and quarterfinal run.

“It's about momentum,” Vincent said. “It's not about tactics, more psychological. The difference will be there.”

The two European squads met in the preliminary round in which France escaped with a 65-54 win over Russia.

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