Impetus’ French editor Jean-Pierre Thiesset reflects on his nation’s semi-final against Germany last night (28/7/22).
Above: The French team in a huddle last night – their first semi-final ended in disappointment. Photo: Euro 2022.
Despite fighting to the end, it was Germany who were stronger and deservedly took their place in Sunday’s Euro 2022 Final against England.
France head coach Corinne Diacre named the same team which started the quarter-final against Netherlands.
In the first quarter, the action was end to end. There was a huge battle to win the midfield. Pauline Peyraud-Magnin was called into action in the French goal with a 19th-minute free-kick. German talisman Alexandra Popp hit another set-piece from a central position 18 meters out which the French custodian dealt with well at the cost of a corner.
France relied on counterattacks, but they lost most of their duels as they failed to move the ball around quickly enough. Additionally, it seemed that the two extra days between matches which fell in Germany’s favour from their last eight clash with Austria saw them clearly dominating Les Bleues in the physical battle.
With 40 minutes on the clock, from yet another Germany attack, Svenja Huth’s cross was dispatched into the net by Popp for her fifth goal in as many games this tournament. Despite this, France pushed on and levelled right on the half-time whistle. A rapid-fire attack saw Kadidiatou Diani dispatch a superb shot from 18 meters which came off of the left-hand post and bounced off of the back of Germany goalkeeper Merle Frohms to make it 1-1 at the break.
The first half may have been difficult for France, but they were still alive. As expected, the young star Selma Bacha replaced Melvine Malard, who lacked efficiency. The introduction of Bacha sees her now out on the left with Diani as centre forward, and Delphine Cascarino on the right – her preferred position.
France remained with their difficulties to maintain possession in midfield. Bacha’s qualities were seen just after the hour mark when her shot was blocked out for a corner. Frohms worked hard to deny Renard’s header and another effort from Bacha.
Yet, it was Germany who showed their efficiency and ability to transfer chances into goals when Huth’s cross was headed home by Popp, who joined England’s Beth Mead at the top of the tournament scoring charts.
France had chances in the final stages with Bacha letting fly from the edge of the box and Clara Matéo who put the ball just over. France players fought until the end, but Germany was stronger.
Teams: FRANCE (4-3-3): Peyraud-Magnin, Karchaoui, Renard, Mbock, Périsset, Geyoro, Toletti (Sarr 80′), Bilbault, Cascarino (Matéo 61′), Malard (Bacha 46′), Diani.
Scorer: Frohms (OG) 45′.
GERMANY (4-3-3): Frohms, Rauch, Hegering (Doorsoun 81′), Hendrich, Gwinn, Däbritz (Lohmann 68′), Oberdorf, Magull (Dallmann 68′), Brand, Popp, Huth (Waßmuth 90+1′).
Scorer: Popp 40′, 76′.
Referee: Cheryl Foster.