Les Bleues no longer blue / Euro 2022 / France / July 24, 2022 / SOFOOT.com

Five years after the beginning of her mandate, a failed World Cup and several selections, Corinne Deacon took a very symbolic step by taking the French team to the first semi-final of a Euro in its history. Enough to encourage the credit of the tricolor coach, especially with a World Cup and the Olympic Games planned for the next two years.

It is true that the Netherlands has not defeated France since 2015 and it is true that the last time the two teams met, during the Tournoi de France in February, the seconds easily defeated the first (3-1). Except that in the context of a Euro, especially against the defending champions and especially if you haven’t made it past the quarter-finals yourself, it’s lemonade. But this Saturday, July 23, the Bleues did not shake by winning after a complicated game, where the experienced Dutch women gave difficulty to the French women who, in general, were playing in their first tournament with A’s jersey and shone with their enthusiasm and their desire, which failed to be effective against the goal (1-0 victory with a penalty paid for 33 unsuccessful attempts).

They, you don’t tell them about age

So yes, it’s tough, but in the end, the best team wins. All while starting a fourth different starting XI in the four games played. In total, all the players on the list of 23 (down from 22 since the withdrawal of Marie-Antoinette Katoto) got playing time, except for the defender Hawa Cissoko and the two substitute goalkeepers, Mylène Chavas and Justine The round. It was enough to prove Corinne Deacon right when the coach proved that too “It’s not just to blacken the paper that I told you that we have a group. There are some profiles that can be loaded when logging in. If we see the qualities of Selma Bacha and Clara Mateo [toutes deux ont démarré sur le banc face aux Pays-Bas, NDLR] and others, I won’t name them all, they can start. And we know that when they come in, they do the work and they bring more. »

Bacha and Mateo, two examples of these Bleues who are not part of the adventure during the 2019 World Cup. In addition, this Saturday night, the central hinge Renard-Mbock as well as Kadidiatou Diani in the attack is an exception. Others, like goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin or striker Eve Périsset, then waxed the bench, while on the left lane, Marion Torrent has since endorsed the costume of (super) sub for the benefit of Sakina Karchaoui. “These are things that are built in the long term, we have learned from past experiences. We know that a team with a deep bench is more interesting and when you play 120 minutes, it is more important.analyzed Corinne Deacon, when he was asked how he sees his five years at the head of Les Bleues. If you see Palis come in with all his nerves, he is not a starter for his club [Bordeaux, NDLR], this is the strength of the collective. Torrent waiting a few months ago, when we see all the strength of his entry [pour la deuxième période de la prolongation, NDLR], no bitterness. Women are part of this group who want to achieve something together. »

Fruit harvest

Corinne Deacon is not the type to be demonstrative, at least not in front of the media, which she often views with a certain distrust. But at the end of this historic victory that qualifies Les Bleues for the first semi-final in their history, the emotion is, of course, smart, but very emotional. Perhaps because the broken glass ceiling nevertheless weighed heavily on his shoulders: “I still say that [la malédiction des quarts de finale] not our story. We, the staff and the players, want to write ourselves. Now we still have a little way to go. ” , he defended himself. Perhaps because the coach saw this qualification as a response to the criticism linked to his choice to deprive himself of the historic executives, Gaëtane Thiney, Amandine Henry and Eugénie Le Sommer lead (to which the decision was added of Sarah Bouhaddi who will remain from selection as long as Deacon is at the helm) to take a step forward, looking to the future.

A course that has been partially crossed and that will make it irrelevant to prove that this final success is only the innocence of experience: [Dire cela], it’s a sin in youth competitions. We have a very experienced team in this regard. I am not asked to play without complexes, but to have fun and perform well. […] The current group was founded twelve months ago and they want to achieve something together. The elders take care of the young, the young are attentive and bring their share of innovation and recklessness. All this makes a very good mix. We’re taking a step tonight, but it’s not an end in itself. We really want to play in this final. When we expressed our desire to be there on July 31, it was not just empty words. »

The best is yet to come

Just to make things clear: it is too early to speak of this quarter-final as a reference match. “It’s just one more step to the final victory and it really took a long time to form. We could have scored earlier, but tonight we found a Dutch goalkeeper who was more than in a state of grace. I know you are concerned about the athletic aspect; I think you have been given many answers tonight. I know you are concerned about the defense aspect; I think you have been given many answers tonight. But we don’t give you many answers on the offensive aspect, at least not on efficiency. On the other hand, in terms of opportunities and dangerous situations, we are ahead. »

Facing Germany on July 27, the situation must be rectified. Don’t worry, the Blues know what they have to do and have proven they can do it, at least in theory and don’t see themselves as too pretty. A good sign for the next two meetings to come: the 2023 World Cup and the Paris Olympics next year. Is there a Deacon or not? When asked if Noël Le Graët, who is at Rotherham and who recently announced the extension of the coach’s contract, has taken up his pen, the interested party responded with a gimmick that has become his signature: “You know, my personal case is not important. »

By Julien Duez, of Rotherham

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