Pass of seven for the Blue. The Tricolores will play, in 2022, their seventh European Championship in a row since their first participation in 1997. Under pressure because of the conflicting relations between some of its best players and its coach Corinne Deacon, the French women’s team has beaten Austria (3-0), Friday, November 27, to secure first place in Group G. The last meeting on Tuesday against Kazakhstan will not change anything.
Unbeaten in the Euro qualifiers since June 16, 2007, a current series of 28 games, the Blue have not conceded a single goal during this campaign. At the Roudourou stadium in Guingamp, under the eyes of Noël Le Graët, – the president of the French Football Federation and former mayor of the city -, the Tricolores were not only content to reach their qualification goal, they also produced a nice athletic performance.
Rather reassuring in a murky context. At the final whistle, the coach showed her relief: “We will already savor this evening. that’s it. We are at Euro 2022. I am satisfied because the collective performance was almost perfect. “
At the beginning of the week, the Blue, slightly annoyed, had answered questions from the press in a speech that could be summarized as: “The atmosphere is very good, tell us about football. ” As three of its players had confided to the World – including two of the holders, midfielder Charlotte Bilbault and goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin – the meeting at Clairefontaine, between the internationals and without the staff, made it possible to refocus all the world towards the priority objective.
This was confirmed from the start. Held in check by Austria a month ago (0-0), the Bleues immediately made their opponents understand that the Breton evening would not be easy.
Despite the absences of several players, including the top scorer in history Eugénie Le Sommer, Amandine Henry’s teammates – not only holder and well wearing her captain’s armband despite her recent criticism of Corinne Deacon – stifled the Austrians thanks high and rapid recovery of the ball.
Much more technically fair than the first leg, the French were able to rely on one of their fundamentals: the head game of Wendie Renard. On a corner from Amel Majri, the Lyon defender cut the path in front of goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger to open the scoring (11e, 1-0). Used to scoring despite his position, the ex-captain scored his first goal since the quarter-final of the 2019 World Cup lost against the United States (June 28, 2019, 2-1).
Associated with the young Montpellier Elisa De Almeida in defense, in the absence of Aïssatou Tounkara, positive for Covid-19 and Griedge Mbock, once again operated on the knee on Thursday, Renard passed very close to the double at the time of Thu. Without a stop at Zinsberger’s Gordon Banks – heroic English goalkeeper of the 1966 World Cup, the Martiniquaise would have scored her 26e goal in selection.
Under the piercing gaze of Corinne Deacon, solid in the storm, the France team left no respite to Austria, who remained on two draws against the Blue. Especially since when we decided to be content to wait in his half of the field and hope for a lucky counter to score – like the game plan proposed by the players of Irene Fuhrmann – cash a goal in the first quarter of an hour is not the best thing.
Henry and Deacon greet each other
Chilly and incapable of bringing the slightest danger to the French camp, Austria gave in a second time before the half hour mark. Lyonnaise Delphine Cascarino centered for the uncrossed and victorious head of Parisian Marie-Antoinette Katoto (27e, 2-0), already a scorer a week ago during PSG’s victory against OL in Division 1. Standing in front of her sidelines, as usual, the coach could relax and display a big smile.
A few minutes later, very inspired on her left side, Sakina Karchaoui easily pierced the Austrian defense and delivered a wonderful ball for Katoto. But the shot of the Parisienne failed on the post (50e). Game postponed for the goalscorer, who would achieve a double in the 73e minute of play by resuming at close range at the far post a corner from the right (3-0).
Encouraging sign, the exit of Amandine Henry at the hour of play – necessarily scrutinized – went well. Irreproachable, Deacon and his captain greeted each other briefly. “We will take the time to discuss it among ourselves, since it has been requested. We are going to have a good night’s sleep and we will decide if we discuss by the end of the course or not. But that moment, it’s me who will decide ”, hit the coach.
In victory, it is always easier to discuss. Especially since the France team will have to wait more than a year and a half before playing Euro 2022. More than enough to hope to resolve the conflicts.