Euro-2025 football: Les Bleues begin their qualifications with a narrow victory over Ireland

The French women's team took the opportunity, Friday April 5 evening, to reassure themselves by launching their qualifications for Euro-2025 football with a victory

Euro-2025 football: Les Bleues begin their qualifications with a narrow victory over Ireland

The French women's team took the opportunity, Friday April 5 evening, to reassure themselves by launching their qualifications for Euro-2025 football with a victory. Thanks to a goal from Marie-Antoinette Katoto, the Blues beat Ireland (1-0) at the Saint-Symphorien stadium in Metz, a little more than a minus after the painful setback suffered in Seville in the final of the League of Nations. nations (2-0), where they had been outclassed tactically, physically, technically and mentally by the Spanish world champions.

Led on Friday by captain Grace Geyoro due to the presence on the bench of Wendie Renard and Eugénie Le Sommer, Hervé Renard's players took the lead in the group during the first group match thanks to this victory against the most affordable opponent in the group (25th in the FIFA world rankings). At the same time, the English and the Swedes neutralized each other at Wembley (1-1), in the other match of the group.

The success of the Bleues was essential as their group is tough with England, reigning European champion and vice-world champion, and the semi-finalist of the last World Cup, Sweden, where the Bleues travel on Tuesday evening. To qualify for the Euro in Switzerland in July 2025, the French women will have to finish in the first two of the group. Otherwise, they will have to go through two rounds of play-offs next fall to be drafted.

Eugénie Le Sommer on the stand

Lacking technical accuracy in the last thirty meters, they quickly opened the score on a set piece thanks to a combination between the shooter Kenza Dali for Maëlle Lakrar, who delivered perfectly towards the PSG attacker Marie-Antoinette Katoto ( 6th). Of the last ten goals scored by the Blues, seven were from a set phase (corner, free kick or penalty).

Uninspired despite their possession and apart from good pressing when they lost the ball, the French had difficulty combining, especially up front between Delphine Cascarino, Katoto, Kadidiatou Diani and Grace Geyoro, attacking midfielder.

More mobile than Katoto, Eugénie Le Sommer, who entered her place at the hour mark, was immediately more found, author of a powerful header on the crossbar following a cross from Diani (66th) . The connection between the two Lyonnaises was more visible in a few minutes than with Katoto for an hour, despite the latter's 28th goal in the blue jersey. More liberated in the second half, Diani was very close to doubling the lead, well launched by Kenza Dali (70th) in her right lane.

Hervé Renard's players will have to raise their level on Tuesday against the more technical Swedes and be more precise in front of goal. They will have fewer possibilities than Friday with their twenty shots.

Already beaten last July (3-0), the Irish did not try their luck more than once against the goal of Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, very calm

The return of Wendie Renard

“I am very satisfied with this match in the state of mind, in the desire to move forward, to press this Irish team,” declared the coach of the France team, Hervé Renard. On the offensive side, the players “could have been more effective in the last thirty meters”, he continued, hoping to be able to “score one or two additional goals”. But “we hit the post and the Irish goalkeeper had a great match,” noted the French technician.

It will also take a little more to be able to claim an Olympic medal this summer in France, the big objective of the year.

The good news for the Blues is the entry of Wendie Renard after four months of absence due to a quadriceps injury. But his return was disrupted by discomfort due to hypoglycemia at the very end of the match (90 4), according to the Blue staff.

The captain, who will be able to bring all her experience against Sweden which was so lacking against Spain, seemed to be dizzy and left for a few seconds before returning to the field for the last two minutes. “She had a little discomfort but it was okay in the locker room,” said teammate Sandie Toletti.

The other captain Amandine Henry, who should start against Sweden, celebrated her 100th selection in front of the 17,000 spectators present at the stadium.