Rotherham (UK) – The mood for France has cooled dramatically after a hot start on Sunday against Italy (5-1) at the Women’s Euro, a ‘good start’ likely to bring confidence and serenity despite public calls not to. “Inflame”, and do not forget about the flaws.
The hero of the evening after an unlikely hat-trick, Grace Giroud summed up the general feeling: “At the moment, we haven’t won anything. It’s a very good start but the target is July 31”, on the day of the final at Wembley.
Coming out of New York’s Rotherham Stadium on Sunday evening, the French were euphoric by parading in front of reporters, a tangible attitude already in celebrations of the calculated goal on the ground.
On the other hand, on the edge of the grass, Corinne Deacon jumped for joy every time the ball hit the Italian net, a rare image that continued in her post-match speech.
“I had so much fun,” said the coach, who seemed more gentle and relaxed than the previous days. “You have to know how things taste when they present themselves.”
– ‘Foot on the ground’ –
The Les Bleues boss, who has been around since 2017, knows she’s on the corner after the bumpy three years following the 2019 World Cup in France, with strong options in terms of revamping her group.
The alliance between the enthusiasm of the youth and the wisdom of the most experienced – his creed was repeated several times – hit the Azores in the first half (5-0 in the first half). The coup allows for a sneak peek into Wednesday’s quarter-final qualification against Belgium in the event of a win.
Before facing Red Flames, “we shouldn’t ignite,” underdog winger Delphine Cascarino credited Sunday’s beautiful goal from a long shot. Even if it feels good to win, you have to keep your feet on the ground,” said defender Yves Berest.
An appendix of ‘confidence’, ‘beautiful goals’ and ‘beautiful play stages’ from the start, of course, ‘but in the second period we must be able to continue at the same pace, to master the subject a little more’, took care to guide the captain, Wendy Renard.
In fact, the Blues sometimes retrieved broth from the locker room, conceding a goal and several hot chances, especially at the end of the game when the Blue Ship seriously shook.
– Defense review –
It is still difficult to judge the level of the tricolor’s defense, it was not compromised during preparations, and it was protected for a long time on Sunday thanks to the attacking power led by its midfielders and attackers.
The unexpected decision to push Assatou Tounkara as an axle novice, instead of the usual Griedge Mbock, was also able to challenge. At Atlético Madrid, the former has played little this season and has no experience in the big matches of the Champions League, unlike Lyonnaise.
The French national team knows that such a successful start offers no guarantee in the tournament, as the example of the 2019 World Cup, which started 4-0 against South Korea, can remind us.
Renard prefers to recall the memory of Euro 2017, which was also completed in the quarter-finals, to counter a potential wave of excessive enthusiasm.
“En 2017, on avait dit qu’on avait un groupe facile et on a galéré face à l’Islande, l’Autriche et la Suisse (1-0 puis deux fois 1-1, NDLR)”, rappelle la capitaine de bientôt 32 years. “We will have to repeat the same efforts in the second and third group matches and then we can attack another competition.”
Same letter from Deacon: “We were only on the first step of the six we set for ourselves.” To reach the final dream, the coach called on her players to “be humble (…) focus and measure despite everything.”
“Evil thinker. Music scholar. Hipster-friendly communicator. Bacon geek. Amateur internet enthusiast. Introvert.”