Football: the French women’s team dominates Portugal for its entry into the Nations League

The French women's football team's Olympic season is off to a good start

Football: the French women’s team dominates Portugal for its entry into the Nations League

The French women's football team's Olympic season is off to a good start. Les Bleues won 2-0 on Friday September 22 in Valenciennes 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 last summer's World Cup, the second objective that has been set for the coach, whose contract runs until 2024.

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 Eugenie 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 knee last year.

“Honestly, it was a moment that I had been waiting for for a very long time,” admitted Amandine Henry, who now plays for the American club Angel City, in Los Angeles. There were a lot of emotions, I played the film several times in my head before. It took a few minutes for me to realize that I was actually on the ground. »

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 strike from outside the area landing in the top corner (89th), her second goal for Les Bleues.

“It’s a good start in terms of results,” said 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 for the 2024 Olympic Games, will determine the groups for the qualifying campaign for Euro-2025 which will begin next spring. If France as the Olympic host country is not concerned, the Bleues 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,” Hervé Renard tempered Friday evening.