French striker Eugénie Le Sommer against Portugal, in Valenciennes (North), September 22, 2023. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
The French women’s football team’s Olympic season is off to a good start. Les Bleues won 2-0, Friday September 22, in Valenciennes (North), against Portugal in the Nations League, more than a month after their elimination in the quarter-final of the World Cup.
Strengthened by the return of several injured players including midfielder Oriane Jean-François, started after her withdrawal just before the World Cup, Hervé Renard’s team managed to escape the Portuguese trap in front of 18,300 people from the Hainaut stadium. The Iberians, who did not advance past the group stage at the World Cup, still made a good impression during the tournament, even close to beating and eliminating the United States in the group stage (0-0).
In addition to regaining confidence after the bitter elimination against Australia (0-0, 7-6 tab), the idea for the French coach, sometimes annoyed on his bench on Friday, was to consolidate his typical team in order to ramp up for the Olympic Games at home next summer. Paris 2024 is, after the recent World Cup, the second objective set for the coach, whose contract runs until 2024.
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The return of Amandine Henry
Apart from a rather messy start and end to the match, Wendie Renard’s teammates managed to play their game with a midfield that worked well, unlike the quarter-final against the Australians, who managed to thwart them in a long game. . Vice-captain Grace Geyoro made French domination a reality by concluding with a small net strike a nice one-two-three between herself, Eve Perisset and Eugénie Le Sommer, still impressively easy (27th). Geyoro, just throughout the match, could have scored a double (72nd). Before that, the Blues had attempted some good shots outside the area (10th), including one from Perisset which ended up on the bar (17th).
The second half was marked by the return of midfielder Amandine Henry. Abandoned from the Bleues at the end of Corinne Diacre’s mandate, and forfeited for the World Cup due to an injury, she played her first minutes in the blue colors since November 2020, just like Griedge Mbock, back after his serious injury to the knee in 2022.
“Honestly, it was a moment I had been waiting for for a very long timeadmitted Amandine Henry, who now plays in the American club Angel City, in Los Angeles. There were a lot of emotions, I played the film through my head several times before. It took a few minutes for me to realize that I was actually on the ground. »
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In the French goals, Constance Picaud, the only player who did not have a minute of play during the World Cup, was preferred to Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, who was not completely reassuring in Australia, particularly in the kick-offs. . The PSG goalkeeper had little to do in her cages, even if Portugal was very close to equalizing at the end of the match (80th), with a distant lob.
Next match in Austria
Approximate and achieving little until then, Lyon side Selma Bacha finished her match perfectly with a beautiful shot from outside the area landing in the top corner (89th), her second goal for the Blues.
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“Le Monde” deciphers the news and the challenges of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“It’s a good start in terms of resultswelcomed Hervé Renard. There was a start to the match and a second half with hesitation. Fortunately, we rectified the situation. »
The League of Nations, which offers tickets to the 2024 Olympics, will determine the groups for the qualifying campaign for Euro 2025, which will begin in spring 2024. If France, as Olympic host country, is not affected , the Blue must avoid finishing last in their group, synonymous with possible relegation to League B. They will continue on Tuesday in Austria.
“The Olympics are too far away, there will already be this League of Nations, that’s a lot of deadlines before”tempered Hervé Renard Friday evening.
Read also: Women’s Nations League: much more than a victory for the Spanish, who won 3-2 in Sweden
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