France Qualify For World Cup But Concerns Ahead of Euros

Jean-Pierre Thiesset summarizes France’s last two games for Women’s World Cup qualification (13/4/22).

Above: Delphine Cascarino pictured after scoring France’s winner against Slovenia yesterday. Photo: Equipe de France Feminine.

Wales 1-2 France – April 8, 2022

France won away from home 2-1 against Wales at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli in front of a record crowd of 4,553 fans for a women’s football international in Wales.

If we look only at the statistics of the game, we will say that France largely dominated this game (71% possession, 19 shots, 548 passes with 81% successful) but it was not as easy as it seems for France. On the contrary, the constant pressure of the Welsh and the use of counterattacks at every possible opportunity could have allowed Wales to score after both 12 minutes and 70 minutes after bad clearances from Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, the French goalkeeper, from corners.

Above: Wales’ togetherness resulted in a great effort from Gemma Granger’s team against France in Llanelli. Photo: FA Wales.

Additionally, there could have been a penalty for Wales at the 58th minute after a foul on Jess Fishlock whose run was ended just inside the penalty area. Unfortunately for Wales, there is no VAR in Women’s World Cup qualification games, and the referee gave only a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area.

For France, there were a lot of opportunities but a lot of shots off target (just near the posts or just over the crossbar) due to a disturbing lack of efficiency of French strikers. So, overall I would say that France deserved to win but it was too close to a very disappointing result with the Euros in England coming up soon. With such a lack of efficiency, France can not hope to win against stronger teams in games where they will have fewer opportunities.

Goal for Wales from Sophie Ingle (71) on a shot from 18 meters. Goals for France from Wendie Renard (31) on a header at the second post on a corner from Sandie Toletti from the left side, Marie-Antoinette Katoto (57) who gained the ball from the Wales goalkeeper who did not clear the ball quickly enough.

France 1-0 Slovenia – April 12, 2022

Above: Delphine Cascarino on the ball for France against Slovenia in Le Mans. Photo: Equipe de France Feminine.

France won 1-0 at home against Slovenia at Le Mans in front of 7,000 fans. Again, in this second game, the statistics may make us think that France had an easy game (70% possession, 606 passes with 82% successful, 22 shots with 8 on target), but the scoreboard tells us something else.

Slovenia could have led 2-0 at halftime. After nine minutes, a shot from 25 meters from Mateja Zver needed Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, who was not on her goal line, to make a great save to put the ball over the crossbar.

Slovenia had another chance after 43 minutes when Peyraud-Magnin took the ball from the feet of Lara Prasnikar on a counterattack. In the first half, Slovenia played very low in their part of the field, and they proceeded with counterattacks. France were wasteful in their passes, made a lot of technical errors, and suffered again from a lack efficiency in front of the goal. There shots near the posts, over the crossbar, and directly in the arms of Slovenia goalkeeper, Zala Mersnik.

The second half started stronger for France with more fluidity in their game and they scored quickly, at the 48th minute from Delphine Cascarino who put the ball in the net at the back post with her right foot on a back pass at ground level from Clara Matéo with her left foot from the left side. After this goal, it started to be more difficult for Slovenia players, but France were still not able to score another goal. Goal for France from Delphine Cascarino (48).

So France have qualified for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, but nobody is really reassured for the Euros in England given that they could have lost both of their last games, and that it seems that they still not have solved their lack of efficiency in front of the goal.

Above: The French team pictured after their win over Slovenia which clinched their place at the 2023 World Cup. Photo: Equipe de France Feminine.

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