One Win, One Loss and Still Questions About The True Level of the France Squad

Jean-Pierre Thiesset rounds up the two friendly games of the France squad against England and USA.

France – England on April 9, 2021 (3-1):

For the first time in years, the only Olympique Lyonnais player on the field, Nikita Parris, was not in the France squad but in the England squad. In fact, only Eugénie Le Sommer was in the France squad but did not play in this game.

Due to Covid19 in Lyon, Corinne Diacre, French coach had to change a lot her team and put no less than five Paris Saint Germain players to start the game: Perle Moroni, Kadidiatou Diani, Grace Geyoro, Sandy Baltimore and Marie-Antoinette Katoto. French team, which played in 4-4-2, gave the England team 62% of possession and used the technicality and speed of their midfielders and strikers to try to quickly go towards England goal each time they had the ball.

There was almost the same number of shots (17 for France and 18 for England) with 8 on target for France and only 6 on target for England. At the end France won 3-1 in part due to the skills of its strikers, with a special mention to Sandy Baltimore, and to an outstanding game from its goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin. Goals for France from Sandy Baltimore (32), Viviane Asseyi (63 penalty), and Marie-Antoinette Katoto (82). The goal for England from Fran Kirby (79 penalty).

If the penalty for England cannot be discussed because the fault from Torrent is obvious, the penalty for France has been discussed. In my own opinion, I think there should have been a penalty; when we look at the replay, we can see that when Daly collides with De Almeida, the ball is not here anymore so she cannot argue that she was playing the ball, she was just late in this action.

In summary, without Olympique Lyonnais players, France team had a lot of problems in defence where Wendie Renard and Griedge Mbock Bathy were badly missed in the center. However, France team produced a fairly good game in the middle and in front. If we add those two missing defenders and Delphine Cascarino, Amel Majri, Eugénie Le Sommer, Selma Bacha, Melvine Malard, and Sakina Karchaoui to this squad, France could have an impressive team for the European Championships.

France – USA on April 13, 2021 (0-2):

Above: USA celebrate Megan Rapinoe’s fifth minute goal from the penalty spot against France. Photo: ESPN

Only two players from Paris Saint Germain (Grace Geyoro and Marie-Antoinette Katoto) and one from Olympique Lyonnais (Eugénie Le Sommer) were fielded at the beginning of the match which led to an outrageous domination by the USA team in the first half.

Without another outstanding performance of its goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, France team would have probably have been more than two goals behind USA at the end of the first half. With the entrance of Sandy Baltimore, from Paris Saint Germain, in second half, we saw a little bit more action in front of USA goal but Baltimore alone was not able to really change the outcome of this game.

In second half, the USA controlled the game and secured their play by keeping the ball in the middle without trying to score more goals.

Goals for USA came from Megan Rapinoe (5 penalty) and Alex Morgan (19).

Should we worry about the real level of France squad? I think that the result of England which lost against Canada make the victory of France team on April 9 less impressive and that we know now that without the major Paris Saint Germain and Olympique Lyonnais players in the team, France is far from the level of the other teams. Let’s hope that players from these two major teams in France will be all available and all in good fit for European Championships.

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