by Jean-Pierre Thiesset, Impetus French Editor (15/7/22).
Above: Belgium goalkeeper Nicky Evrard saves at the feet of France’s Ouleymata Sarr (18) last night as Julie Biesmans attempts to intervene. Photo: Euro 2022.
France did what they needed to in edging past Belgium to qualify for the Quarter-Finals in Rotherham last night.
It was not a fireworks display from Corinne Diacre’s team on Bastille Day, the French national holiday and France sealed their qualification with difficulty. Furthermore, there was very bad news as the excellent Marie-Antoinette Katoto had to leave the pitch with a sprained right knee after 17 minutes. It will not be clear for a few days if she will be able to be back on the pitch for the Quarter-Finals.
France dominated this game but lack efficiency in attack; this is not new, and it is a little bit worrisome for future games in this competition. Throughout qualifying and in friendlies Diacre’s charges have struggled to turn possession and territory into goals, and as the opposition gets tougher, problems may arise.
The group concludes on Monday when France take on an Iceland side who know that a win will guarantee a spot in the last eight. Elsewhere Italy face Belgium with the winners of that game needing France to take something against the Icelandic side.
Teams: FRANCE (4-3-3): Peyraud-Magnin, Karchaoui, Renard, Tounkara, Périsset, Toletti (Matéo 66′), Bilbault, Geyoro (Palis 90’+1), Cascarino (Malard 90’+1), Katoto (Sarr 17′), Diani (Bacha 65′).
Scorers: Diani 6′, Mbock 41′.
BELGIUM (4-2-3-1): Evrard, Philtjens (Deloose 59′), De Neve (Tysiak 70′), Kees, Vangheluwe (Minnaert 46′), Biesmans, Vanhaevermaet (Delacauw 59′) Cayman, De Caigny, Dhont (Eurlings 78′), Wullaert.
Referee: Cheryl Foster.