Finally, a half! Les Bleues, pushed into overtime, swallowed the pressure that had made them tremble for a decade in the quarter-finals, offering themselves Saturday at the Euro the scalp of the outgoing Dutch (1-0) at the end of the suspense, with cold blood. More powerful and more enterprising, the French have achieved a performance of queens, in the kingdom of football, and maintain intact their dream of ascending the throne, now vacant, on July 31 at Wembley.
After dismissing the Dutch, European champions and vice-world champions in title, it will however first be necessary to bite into another big piece, Wednesday in Milton Keynes: Germany, biggest winners at the Euro (eight titles ), to the hitherto impregnable defense. In the meantime, the Blues have four days to recharge the batteries, largely produced by the summit of Rotherham.
After ten years of repeated failures, France has finally broken the glass ceiling of the quarter-finals on which its ambitions have been shattered five times in a row (Euro-2013, Mondial-2015, JO-2016, Euro-2017, Mondial -2019). The window of his car cracked by a projectile, Saturday on the road to the stadium, was finally a happy omen… In extra time, the light came from a breakthrough by the untenable Kadidiatou Diani, mowed down in the area. The referee awarded a penalty after using video assistance and it was Eve Perisset, an unusual penalty shooter, who carried out the sentence (102nd).
The presence of the Bleues in the last four was expected, given its many talents, but it was slow to take shape, Saturday in the small New York stadium (9,800 spectators), where the number of missed opportunities often made dizzy . In a one-sided match, the young goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar (22), propelled to the front of the stage after Sari van Veenendaal’s package, was saved for a long time by luck, her own talent or the clumsiness of the Blue.
The latter wasted ammunition on heads by Wendie Renard, without force or precision, or on attempts by Sandie Toletti (23rd) and Melvine Malard (26th), unable to frame their shots. Bad luck also fell on Delphine Cascarino, with a heavy long shot captured (22nd) and, above all, a recovery from outside the area returned by a post (27th).
On that unlucky evening, there were two incredible Dutch saves, signed Stefanie van der Gragt. The Ajax Amsterdam player saved hers on the line, with her knees, repelling a strike from Malard (37th). Then she helped herself with her elbow, stuck to the body, to repel an attempt by Grace Geyoro well served by Renard (41st).
The entry at the hour of play of Selma Bacha, designated player of the match, a product of multiple sparks, triggering murmurs of pleasure in the spans, however mostly colored by the fluorescent orange jerseys of the Batavians. The Lyonnaise, without complex despite her young age (21), heated van Domselaar’s gloves with heavy strikes (65th, 73rd). She also served her captain Renard from a corner (66th, 90th +2), but the Twente goalkeeper stretched perfectly to extinguish the threat.
After a decrescendo first round, ended with a hitch against Iceland (1-1), France regained their strength against a collectively tough opponent, if not brilliant. Until then, he lacked such a reference match on which he gained confidence, it is now chosen done. The objective of the semi-finals, set by the president of the Federation Noël Le Graët, has been achieved and this should free up a weight for Les Bleues and Corinne Deacon, at the end of their contract. The future of the coach has become clearer, under the gray sky of Rotherham, and the technician can already project herself on the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
In the meantime, the Germans await it on Wednesday with the power of a conquering nation, with an iron defense and ready to return to the center of Europe.