Last Thursday, just before the men’s semi-final game against Germany, Phillipe Bergeroo named his squad for the Rio Olympics. There are 18+4 names as per the regulations and a couple of surprises.
Here is the squad:
Goalkeepers : Sarah Bouhaddi (Olympique Lyonnais), Méline Gérard (Olympique Lyonnais)
Defenders : Sabrina Delannoy (Paris SG), Jessica Houara d’Hommeaux (Olympique Lyonnais), Laura Georges (Paris SG), Amel Majri (Olympique Lyonnais), Griedge Mbock Bathy (Olympique Lyonnais), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnais)
Midfielders : Camille Abily (Olympique Lyonnais), Élise Bussaglia (VFL Wolfsburg), Kadidiatou Diani (FCF Juvisy), Kheira Hamraoui (Olympique Lyonnais), Amandine Henry (Portland Thorns FC), Claire Lavogez (Olympique Lyonnais), Louisa Necib, Élodie Thomis (Olympique Lyonnais)
Forwards : Marie-Laure Delie (Paris SG), Eugénie Le Sommer (Olympique Lyonnais)
Kenza Dali (Olympique Lyonnais), Sakina Karchaoui (Montpellier HSC), Clarisse Le Bihan (Monptellier HSC), Laëtitia Philippe (Montpellier HSC)
There is an element of surprise with Diani and Lavogez’s selection. They both come from the succesful U19/U20 team, with Diani and M’Bock Bathy having also won the U17 World Cup a few seasons ago. They were also present at the World Cup in Canada.
Bergeroo decided to take an extra attacking player either Lavogez or Diani rather than another defender like Karchaoui. That move would have freed Majri from the left back position and play her in her favourite left-wing position that is generally occupied by Necib.
The alternate players are quite expected although Le Bihan like Lavogez struggled the whole season with injury. As usual Thiney is persona non grata despite a superb club season and her team-mates Diani is therefore the third forward in the team and will need to be a goalscoring super-sub. Marie Charlotte Leger who had an excellent club record with 19 goals this season is not even on the alternate list.
The players positions are the ones given by the FFF and do not always reflect what can happen on the pitch. Phillipe Begeroo uses three system with France : So let’s have a look at the starting 11 and where the subs would cover if they are called up .
4-4-2 the classic system :
Expected 11 (according to history ): Bouhaddi, Houara Georges Renard Majri, Thomis Henry Abily Necib, Delie Le Sommer.
In that configuration Delannoy covers at RB and RCB, M’Bock covers at LCB and LB. Bussaglia and Hamraoui cover the two positions in central midfield. Lavogez covers the two wingers positions and Diani cover both wings and one of the center forward position.
4-2-3-1 with a playmaker :
Expected 11 : Bouhaddi, Houara Georges Renard Majri, Abily Henry, Thomis Necib Lavogez, Le Sommer
In that configuration Delannoy covers at RB and RCB, M’Bock covers at LCB and LB. Bussaglia and Hamraoui cover the two positions in central midfield. Diani offers covers for both wings and Delie covers for Le Sommer.
4-1-4-1 the defensive system :
Expected 11 : Bouhaddi, Houara Georges Renard Majri, Hamraoui, Thomis Abily Henry Necib, Le Sommer.
In that configuration Delannoy covers at RB and RCB, M’Bock covers at LCB and LB. Bussaglia cover the two central midfield positions. Diani covers the right wing, Lavogez the left wing and the Delie covers Le Sommer.
M’Bock Bathy might be a starter if she has done enough at club level woth Lyon to convince that she has now overtaken Georges who was injured quite a bit this season.
Thomis also missed out on a few games and her starting place might be in danger with Diani and Lavogez available to play on the right wing.
Le Sommer can also move to the right in the 4-2-3-1 system but you would really expect her to play centrally and try to finish chances.
A reminder from the 2012 London Olympic squad : Abily, Bompastor, Bouhaddi, Boulleau, Bussaglia, Catala, Delie, Deville, Franco, Georges, Le Sommer, Meilleroux, Necib, Renard, Soubeyrand, Thiney, Thomis, Viguier with Phillipe, Soyer, Gadea and Makanza the alternates.
Therefore Abily, Bouhaddi, Bussaglia, Delie, Georges, Le Sommer, Necib, Renard, Thomis will be competing in their second Olympics while Phillipe will be an alternate again as well.
If we compare to the 23 World Cup squad, four players have not gone through : Deville and Thiney sent to international retirement by the coach, Boulleau who is injured and Butel who is not selected as better players have been taken on. There are three newbies and are all alternates : Phillipe, Karchaoui and Le Bihan