Les Bleues win the Tournoi de France, an “auspicious” success before the Euro

Marie-Antoinette Katoto (right) celebrates with Kadidiatou Diani the second goal scored during the match against the Netherlands, on February 22, 2022, at the Océane stadium in Le Havre.

Les Bleues arrived safely in Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), where the Stade Oceane looked like a theater, for one of the last general rehearsals before the big European deadline in the summer.

After a doubly victorious stopover in Caen (Calvados), against Finland (5-0) and Brazil (2-1), the French women disposed of the Netherlands (3-1), in an enclosure with sparse stands – just over 5,000 spectators. The voices of the young supporters who came en masse helped to warm the enclosure, despite the cool breeze blowing on the Le Havre lawn.

This victory against the reigning European champions allows Les Bleues to win the Tournoi de France, of which they won the first edition in 2020. The trophy is certainly honorary, but this success sends a signal to the competition a few months away. of the Euro in England (from July 6 to 31).

In this “final”, the French had to at least draw to win the tournament. Contract more than fulfilled. “There are small things to correct that we will analyze with a clear head”, however, tempers Corinne Deacon. The words of the coach make reference to the small air hole of the Blues on recovery, which allowed the Dutch to reduce the score.

Katoto-Diani, decisive duo

The Tricolores, in the same disposition as in the first two meetings – four players in defense, three in the middle and three attackers – had done most of the work in the first period with two goals scored.

Only to have been tenured in the three matches of the tournament, Wendie Renard and Marie-Antoinette Katoto have justified their status. The captain found the flaw on the penalty spot (20and minute) after a cross from Kadidiatou Diani deflected with the hand by the Dutch Merel van Dongen. Then Marie-Antoinette Katoto twice displayed her talent to score a double on two subtle heels, always on the receiving end of low crosses.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto (right) celebrates with Kadidiatou Diani the second goal scored during the match against the Netherlands, on February 22, 2022, at the Océane stadium in Le Havre.

The Paris-Saint-Germain striker has thus registered his 22and and 23and goals under the blue tunic, well helped by Kadidiatou Diani, untenable on the right side of the field. The Diani-Katoto duo had already struck against Brazil, with an assist from the first for a decisive goal from the second (2-1). ” Marie-Antoinette becomes indispensable. Kadi put in a great performance. This agreement between the two is just extraordinary,” rejoices Corinne Deacon.

Homogeneity

Three wins, no losses, ten goals scored, two conceded, including a penalty. The statistics for this Tournoi de France are green, with victories that were built differently depending on adversity. The homogeneity of the team during the three meetings was praised by the French coach, with a complementarity between the players and the ability to repeat efforts throughout the game.

“We had three interesting games, with things we hadn’t seen for a while. I feel homogeneity whatever the eleven that starts, welcomed Corinne Deacon. I remember the scenario of the Brazil match where we were trailing and where we did not panic and played well behind with a quick equalizer. Even at 2-1 tonight, we were able to hold on and turn around at times when the Netherlands pushed to equalise. »

Only two players among the twenty-five selected did not have playing time and the rotations made it possible to highlight “doubles” at the level to compensate for possible absences. “I like the attitude of the substitutes, there are things that are emerging, this tournament is rich in lessons”, assures the coach.

“Big room for improvement »

With this new success, France continues a series of ten victories and advances openly. From the top of her 129 caps, captain Wendie Renard, three goals in the tournament, calms the game: There is a quality group, it bodes well for the Euro but we haven’t done anything yet. We have to work collectively and individually. We have a lot of room for improvement. »

Read also World Cup 2023: big victory for the French women’s football team against Greece in the opening of qualifications

If France is regularly part of the outsiders in the final international stages, the reality on the ground shows that the selection comes up against a glass ceiling for the moment unbreakable. In six participations in the Euro, the Blues have never done better than the quarter-finals.

Corinne Deacon would like to remedy this: “ Our ambition is to get the Euro. We know there is still a long way to go with two qualifying matches [pour la Coupe du monde] in April, we will go step by step. »

The France team, currently first in its qualifying group for the World Cup, will play two decisive matches on April 4 and 12, against Wales (2and) and Slovenia (3and). With two successes, the Habs would be almost guaranteed to compete in the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Two stopovers before arriving safely, scheduled for July 10 in Rotherham (England), for the start of the Euro, against Italy.

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