With Eugenie Le Sommer unable to play due to injury, Phillipe Bergeroo will have to use a new partnership up front for the Norway friendly to be played at La Manga next week.
Since he took over from Bruno Bini right after the 2013 Euros, Phillipe Bergeroo has always used a combination of his three senior forwards Eugenie Le Sommer, Marie-Laure Delie and Gaetane Thiney for the serious games when squad rotation was not used.
Gaetane Thiney is no longer called up for the France team due to disagreements with the manager, although football performances is the official reason for not calling her up. The player who has taken over the place and the squad number as well #17, Clarisse Le Bihan is also injured . The big question is who will partner Delie up front?
Phillipe Bergeroo favours the 4-4-2 system and his current best 11 is well known : Bouhaddi, Houara Georges Renard Boulleau or Majri, Thomis Abily Henry Necib, Le Sommer Delie. He always starts with the same system regardless of the opposition.
The only variation to the 4-4-2 we have seen so far is when game management happens and Bergeroo tries to protect a lead and switches to 4-1-4-1 by removing a forward and putting a defensive midfielder on.
There are four forwards selected out of the 22 players squad :
Marie-Laure Delie who is short of playing time with PSG at the moment, but in a better situation than before the winter break when she was not even making the matchday squad.
22 years old Vivianne Asseyi has been called up as a replacement with Eugenie Le Sommer and Sandie Toletti withdrawing due to injury.
19 years old soon to be 20 and in form center forward Marie-Charlotte Leger has scored 11 League goals in 14 and might be given a first start for Les Bleues. She has two caps so far, coming on as a late sub twice.
18 years old and soon 19 Delphine Cascarino has been called up for the first time and will not be starting the game as Bergeroo has never made such a move before, unless she can show exceptional skill in the next few days training.
The most likely option is actually to have an attacking midfielder playing behind Delie and one player has been used in the past in the 4-4-1-1 system which is a slight variation of the 4-4-2 as we all know. Claire Lavogez, the 21 years old who missed the decisive penalty in the World Cup quarter final against Germany is likely to be paired with Delie.
Louisa Necib could in theory play there as well, but Phillipe Bergeroo prefers to have her on the left wing the same way Jacques Santini used to have Zinedine Zidane there at Euros 2004. Is she at her most effective there ? Probably not but she certainly links up well with the full back bombing behind her either Boulleau or Majri, a combination similar to the Zidane Lizarazu that brought up success in 98 and 2000 when Bergeroo was goalkeeping coach under Aime Jacquet.
With Henry currently injured, France starting 11 against a strong Norway side is likely to be looking like his best available 11 :
Bouhaddi, Houara Georges Renard Boulleau or Majri, Thomis Abily Bussaglia Necib, Lavogez Delie
The Rio Olympics are seven months away and Phillipe Bergeroo will need to find a reliable back-up plan should one of his two main forward be injured or suspended during the tournament.