Following a surprise defeat to Australia at home on Saturday (2-0), there are many questions marks on who will start on Friday against Russia.
In goal Bouhaddi is the number 1 choice. She is not really challenged by Benameur and Deville, it’s a shame Gerard and Phillipe were not selected.
In defence the back 4 is settled : Franco, Georges, Renard, Boulleau. The back ups are Soyer on the right and Houara on the left. 3rd choice center back is Delannoy and 4th is Meilleroux.
In midfield Henry is currently recovering from an injury and is not ready yet. That leaves Soubeyrand, Necib, Bussaglia and Abily fighting for places. This is linked to the forward options where Delie, Thiney, Le Sommer and Thomis are vying for places in the starting 11 as well.
Younger players like Catala, Asseyi or special profile forward like Bretigny (super sub goalscorer) are not expected to start.
Abily and Soubeyrand were poor on Saturday, so form would suggest a starting 11 like this : Bouhaddi, Franco Georges Renard Boulleau, Bussaglia Necib Thiney, Thomis Delie Le Sommer.
Or returning to the WC 11 tactic with Bussaglia Soubeyrand behind an attacking midfield 3 of Abily Necib Thiney with no wingers and Delie as a lone striker.
So basically 8 players will surely start the game v Russia : Bouhaddi, Franco Georges Renard Boulleau, Necib Thiney and Delie. Depending on Russia’s strength and weaknesses one system might be more interesting than another. Although Soubeyrand is the captain with her diminished physical impact, I would be surprised to see her given a starting spot.
Well all will be revealed on Friday around 1630 CET. At the end of the day, the main problem is being clinical in front of the goal, whoever starts on Friday need to put it in the back of the net instead of wide if the goal or on the goalie.