It’s been a tough period for the French national side on and off the pitch with all sorts of issues being made public. However, as Jean-Pierre Thiesset writes, at least the team have finally made it to the European Championship finals even if the Corinne Diacre/Amandine Henry row rumbled on.
During the last game of France team against Austria, Corrine Diacre took her captain Amandine Henry off of the pitch after one hour in the match. Even if Amandine Henry was not performing her best game, there was no reason to take her off so soon in this game. France was dominating the game and largely ahead of Austria. Furthermore, Corinne Diacre gave the captain’s armband to Charlotte Bilbault instead of giving it to an Olympique Lyonnais player. This sequence surprised everyone. Things became a little bit clearer yesterday when according to several media, and especially from RMC Sport, we learnt that the clash between Amandine Henry and Corinne Diacre was still going on and even not close to be solved.
Henry and Diacre had a hard exchange this Wednesday during a training session.
While the players were in a training session inside, Corinne Diacre entered the building and went directly towards Amandine Henry, her captain. “Don’t worry you will have your discussion”, is Corinne Diacre launching to Amandine Henry, according to RMC Sport information, referring of course to the public interview of Amandine Henry mid-November on Canal+.
Put on the substitute team since the beginning of the camp by the coach, Amandine Henry answers “I hope so. It would be nice to be able to discuss”. What Corinne Diacre retorts “In life, everything has to be paid for”. Amandine Henry answers “You threat me?”
No answer from Corinne Diacre, the discussion stops there, and she went away as she came, in the middle of silent and stupefied players.
Now, to the actual match itself…
Even without several of its main players (Eugénie Le Sommer, Marion Torrent, Viviane Asseyi, Valérie Gauvin, Griedge MBock Bathy), France won against Austria (3-0) and have qualified for 2022 European Championship in England.
Even if Austria is not amongst the best team in the world (in fact they are 22nd), the French team played a good game with a lot of creativity which could have led to more goals.
Once again, Sakina Karchaoui was one of the best players, not to say the best player in this game. Not only she did not stop the impact of the Austrian midfield and defence during all the game from the first minute to the last, but she came back to her defence position each time it was necessary.
Apart from Karchaoui, French players who put in outstanding performances were: Marie-Antoinette Katoto, with two goals; Wendie Renard, one goal and she secured the defence as usual; Delphine Cascarino on her right side, who put in a decisive pass for the second goal and Amel Majri on her left side and with the corners that she delivered perfectly from left and right sides.
1-0 – Wendie Renard (11): corner from the left side by Amel Majri. Her left foot strike around the six yard box became a decisive pass for Wendie Renard who launched at the right time to catapult the ball under the crossbar.
2-0 – Marie-Antoinette Katoto (27): Eve Périsset on the right side, slide the ball back to Delphine Cascarino, who played in a perfect centre at the penalty spot to Marie-Antoinette Katoto. She rose higher than the defence to score with an unstoppable header.
3-0 – Marie-Antoinette Katoto (73): corner from the right side by Amel Majri who looked for Clara Matéo at the near post. Clara, on her France team debut, touched the ball and Marie-Antoinette Katoto just needed to push the ball inside the net at the far post.
France’s next game will be against Kazakhstan on December 1st. Even if the result will not change anything on the current standings, we would like to see a French team that finishes this qualification round with an avalanche of goals and have the opportunity to see a few players that have not played a lot since the beginning of the competition.
FRANCE: Pauline Peyraud-Magnin (GK), Wendie Renard, Eve Périsset, Elisa De Almeida, Sakina Karchaoui, Grace Geroyo, Charlotte Bilbault, Amandine Henry (C), Delphine Cascarino, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Amel Majri. Substitutes: Kenza Dali 60 (for Amandine Henry), Clara Matéo 72 (for Delphine Cascarino), Emelyne Laurent 84 (for Marie-Antoinette Katoto).
AUSTRIA: Manuela Zinsberger (GK), Laura Wienrother, Carina Wenninger (C), Viriginia Kirchberger, Verena Aschauer, Sarah Zadrazil, Sarah Puntigam, Jasmin Eder, Barbara Dunst, Nicole Billa, Stefanie Enzinger. Viktoria Pinther 46 (for Nicole Billa), Katharina Naschwengen 61 (for Verena Aschauer), Laura Feiersinger 61 (for Stefanie Enzinger), Lisa Kolb 75 (for Barbara Dunst), Yvonne Weilharter 90 + 1 (for Laura Wienrother).
Yellow cards: Amel Majri (90 + 2) for France; Stefanie Enzinger (42) for Austria.
Referee: Esther Staubli (Switzerland).