Starting a World Cup qualifying campaign is a delicate moment. Even in front of a much weaker opponent and when everything seems fine in a collective without qualms.
The first parameter was well written on the shelves on September 17 for the French women’s team attacking its journey to the 2023 World Cup with a meeting against Greece, modest 64e in the ranking of nations. The second was much more blurry, after months of clouds piled up in the blue sky around the coach Corinne Deacon.
→ READ. Doctor Corinne and Mystery Deacon
Result on the scoreboard: 10-0 for the Blue, very clean copy, to be repeated on September 21 against a team from Slovenia hardly tougher. Does this mean that all is for the best and that the risk of a thunderstorm is definitely remote in the France group? Let us say that the transition pursued by Corinne Deacon is on the right track and that its “Choice of the moment” are rather comforted.
“Choice of the moment” but a strong sign
The coach justified by this catch-all formula her decision not to retain in her group in this re-entry two of the executives of the France team for years, Amandine Henry and Eugenie Le Sommer. The first is at loggerheads with the coach for some kindnesses served after the World Cup in France in 2019, competition ended with a disappointing quarter-final (defeat against the United States) and in a deleterious atmosphere. The second, top scorer in the history of the Blue (86 goals), may no longer enter, at 32, the renewal phase orchestrated by Corinne Deacon.
A few months away from a Euro in England (from July 6 to 31, 2022) decisive for a France team with a still virgin record, this famous “Choice of the moment” is a strong sign. For two years, Corinne Deacon has remained on course despite headwinds such as the departure in the summer of 2021 of her deputy Eric Blahic, appointed in January 2020.
She nevertheless has her results and the unwavering support of the President of the French Football Federation, Noël Le Graët. “Corinne is a good coach, there is no reason to doubt her today, recently declared the daily manager West France. She has lost only one game since the 2019 World Cup [pour 15 victoires et 2 nuls, NDLR]. She certainly won with girls who had sex. But to face and win, I prefer. “
Corinne Deacon, she refutes the idea of an assembly of sulky women. She is developing her group by focusing on the golden youth of the French training. The generation of players who experienced the Under-20 World Cup in 2018 is making its place. Marie-Antoinette Katoto (a hat-trick in Greece), Melvine Malard, Sandy Baltimore (currently injured) are gaining ground. “They are good for everyone, even the old ones, insists Corinne Deacon. It prevents them from staying installed. “
The new generations bode well for excellence
This “Mix of youth and experienced players”, this is his battle plan. History of balancing his business, the strategist applied to give the captaincy until Euro 2022 to his old grumpy Wendie Renard (read below). But it draws a promising framework for the future. “The pool is huge. From the under 16s, the different age categories can give hope for excellence, underlines Marie-Christine Terroni, president of Paris FC, one of the best training clubs in France. And it’s not just top division clubs like us that are doing a good job. On the side of Lille, Nantes, La Roche-sur-Yon, very strong girls are already emerging. It remains to continue the effort and give the means to the clubs to further improve training. “
In the world of women’s football, voices are concerned about a decline in the development and structuring of practice, undermined by the health crisis and the financial difficulties of men’s clubs. “During the World Cup, we saw that our training lead was reduced compared to other nations, which have made considerable progress at all levels, England and Italy in particular”, warned Pierre-Yves Bodineau, head of the PSG Academy two years ago.
The organization of the World Cup in 2019 created a dynamic, somewhat fallout. To relaunch it, beyond the in-depth work, a reward finally to be put in the window of the Bleues would not be too much. “It is imperative to bring something back”, summarizes Marie-Christine Terroni. Young or old, the daughters of Corinne Deacon are aware of this. The ball is in their court.
Captain Renard, the return
It had lost its captaincy with the arrival of Corinne Deacon at the helm of the Blue. Wendie Renard had taken offense and for years the relationship between the coach and the defender of Olympique Lyonnais varied between cold and icy. Does the return of the armband to his arm until Euro 2022 inaugurate a new chapter? “I especially accepted compared to the group, underlined the Martiniquaise. We have a goal which is the Euro, now we have to concentrate on the pitch. Little by little, on the relationship, we will both make further efforts to improve all that. “