At the Euro football championship, Les Bleues are aiming for a first major title

After the ripolining, the time of the consecration? It is a largely remodeled French football team which will set foot on English lawns in ten days for the next European Women’s Championship (from July 6 to 31). Exit Amandine Henry, the emblematic captain, Eugénie Le Sommer, the top scorer, or even Sarah Bouhaddi, the safe bet as goalkeeper. The last eighteen months have redesigned a wardrobe with more youthful features.

By force, one would be tempted to think, as the explanation does not seem to be to be found on the ground, where Amandine Henry, for example, was crowned European club champion with Lyon this season. The 30-year-old has especially paid for her public criticism of the coach, Corinne Deacon, whose mode of management of the group she had denounced in the fall of 2020 during the last World Cup, organized in France in 2019. Les Bleues had then left the World Cup from the quarter-finals, in a “utter chaos”,the midfielder was moved on Canal + : “I saw girls crying in their room, I was crying in my room. »

An exit which was added to several other criticisms, defender Wendie Renard pointing in particular to the “brutality” of the coach in a book published a few months after the failure of the World Cup. A new setback for a mature workforce, hunting for its first international trophy in a decade. Following the 2019 defeat, the coach stayed on and felt there was a lot to change. We can question it but we can also understand it, believes Yannick Chandioux, coach of Montpellier in the women’s first division. The 2015 and 2019 team was collectively balanced, but perhaps lacked strong individuals to make a difference. »

New generation

Talent, the new generation is full of it, carried by Marie-Antoinette Katoto, the most prolific striker of the last exercise with Paris-Saint-Germain – one of the two giants of French women’s football with Lyon – and of which she is already, at 23, the top scorer in history. The vice-champion of France joined the group two years ago, soon imitated by Clara Matéo, Melvine Malard or Selma Bacha, revealed during the last Tournoi de France, an international competition over three matches won by the Bleues last February.

For the list of players selected for the Euro, Corinne Deacon thus ticked twelve names who were not from the 2019 World Cup. “The news brings their passion. We have a lot of choice, there is a lot of competition, especially offensivelyconfides Griedge Mbock, experienced defender of the France team for nine years, according to whom the coach has adapted her management by showing herself “more open”.“There are a lot more exchanges (and) a little more flexibility, certainly”, Corinne Deacon had also assured Agence France-Presse in recent weeks.

” There is no more time to lose “

She nevertheless preferred to avoid some cohabitation problems by not retaining Kheira Hamraoui. The PSG player has been in trouble with certain club partners present in the selection since the attack she suffered in November 2021 and for which one of her teammates had been placed in police custody, finally lifted. The preparation for the Euro could also have been disrupted by the transfer window period. But Marie-Antoinette Katoto, the most sought after, has “made his decision” for next season, recently swept Deacon in a press conference.

These worries aside, the former coach of Clermont for men, where she became the first woman in this position in 2014, only aspires to one thing for this European championship: the title. ” There is no more time to lose “, she warned. Third nation in the Fifa ranking, Les Bleues will arrive among the favorites in England, as at the next World Cup in 2023 and then at the Paris Olympics a year later“one notch below Sweden, the United States or Japan”shade Yannick Chandioux. “These are advanced countries while we are still at the beginnings of women’s football in France. We could draw a parallel with the French team before Platini in the men’s category, which took a long time to win a title in the 1980s. The French will be able to rely on their good momentum: they have just scored a thirteenth victory in a row during their first warm-up match. Before a second against Vietnam, Friday July 1, in Orléans.


The list of 23 Blues

The France team will be opposed, during the group stage of the Euro, to Italy (July 10), Belgium (July 14) and Iceland (July 18).

Babysitters: Mylène Chavas, Justine Lerond, Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.

Defenders: Selma Bacha, Hawa Cissoko, Sakina Karchaoui, Griedge Mbock, Ève Perisset, Wendie Renard, Marion Torrent, Aïssatou Tounkara.

Environments : Charlotte Bilbault, Kenza Dali, Grace Geyoro, Ella Palis, Sandie Toletti.

Forwards: Sandy Baltimore, Delphine Cascarino, Kadidiatou Diani, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Melvine Malard, Clara Matéo, Ouleymata Sarr.


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