France, International football

Corinne Diacre names her first France squad

Corinne Diacre has named her first squad for France’s friendlies against Chile and Spain. As World Cup host, France will have two years to prepare for the tournament by playing friendlies only.

As expected some veterans have been left out as the coach is looking towards the future. The golden generation that failed to win a medal in the last eight years is now making way for the new players, who will hopefully bring success to the team after winning multiple trophies with the youth teams.  Two players have announced their international retirement: Camille Abily straight after the Euros and Elodie Thomis who made the announcement last night on her Instagram.

Let’s have a look at the squad line by line and the main changes from the Euros.

GK: Sarah Bouhaddi, Meline Gerard, Solene Durand.

Gerard has now moved on to Montpellier from Lyon and should therefore compete for the starting spot with Sarah Bouhaddi. As a knock-on effect of this move, Laetitia Phillipe who used to be France number 3 keeper and starter at Montpellier is not selected  any more. Her former deputy at Montpellier Solene Durand who has moved to Guingamp in the summer is now on the list.

DF: Hawa Cissokho, Laura Georges, Thea Greboval, Sakina Karchaoui, Charlotte Lorgere, Griedge M’Bock Bathy, Wendie Renard, Marion Torrent.

From the Euro squad, Eve Perisset, Aissatou Tounkara and Jessica Houara-D’Hommeau are left out.  Perisset is dropped while the other two are injured. Three new capped players come in for them: Hawa Cissokho, Thea Greboval and Charlotte Lorgere. Hawa Cissokho and Thea Greboval won the U19 Euros last season and were runner-up at the U20 World Cup. Charlotte Lorgere has gone through the youth teams with 39 caps at U16 to U20 level and ten for the B team.  Veteran Laura Georges is still in the squad, while Marion Torrent might finally get a chance to prove herself at right-back.

MF: Elise Bussaglia, Camille Catala, Grace Geyoro, Amandine Henry, Ines Jaurena, Sandie Toletti.

Camille Abily has retired from international duty and Claire Lavogez who is currently injured are the two Euros midfielders missing out. Camille Catala is selected as midfielder, as she was under Bruno Bini, when Corinne Diacre was his assistant, rather than the back-up of the back-up at centre forward like at the Euros. Veteran Elise Bussagglia is kept in the squad probably to provide guidance and experience. Ines Jaurena returns after a long absence from the team.

FW : Viviane Asseyi, Kadidiatou Diani, Valerie Gauvin, Eugenie Le Sommer, Perle Morroni, Ouleymata Sarr.

Clarisse Le Bihan, Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie are dropped, Elodie Thomis has retired. Those four players were at the Euros in Netherlands and are replaced by youngsters Perle Morroni and Ouleymata Sarr (who has scored a hat-trick in the season opener with LOSC) and also players who have already been called in the past, but were not regulars in the squad, like Viviane Asseyi and Valerie Gauvin. Kadidiatou Diani and Eugenie Le Sommer are the only forward to stay in the squad following another tournament where scoring was again a problem.

Amel Majri who missed out on the Euros is still not fit and therefore not selected, as is Delphine Cascarino who is coming back from a long term injury.

France will play Chile in Caen on Friday the 15th of September with a 9pm CET kick off and Spain on the 18th of September in Calais with 9pm CET kick-off as well.  We might see a lot of new players being capped in one of those friendlies and we will see what kind of tactical options Corinne Diacre will select. We can probably expect a less defence and physical strength orientated team. It should be more creative  than under Phillipe Bergeroo and Olivier Echouafni.

 

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France, International football

France 1 Iceland 0, 3 points and many questions but few answers

A 1-0 victory with a late penalty from Le Sommer means France start the Euros with a precious win, but will have to go back to the drawing board before the Austria game.

France started in a 4-2-3-1 system with Le Sommer as the lone striker, Thomis on the right side and Le Bihan on the left side. Abily was the playmaker with Bussaglia and Henry behind her.  Houara, Georges preferred to M’Bock bathy, Renard and Karchaoui. Bouhaddi was in goal as usual.

The first point to mention is how much influence the referee has on the game. She was quite lenient forgetting to whistle penalties, yellow cards, a red card and was inconsistent as well with her bookings.

She let so many things go unpunished on both side, that it was no surprise to see a French player being subbed after being injured with a twisted ankle. Talking about not controlling a game and favoring physical play rather than football, it was another typical example of those kind of games.

It is quite clear that with a different referee, who would have been stricter and fully applying the LOTG, the game would have been played differently. I note that the VAR would also have changed the game, fouls in the penalty area ignored by the referee with fouls on both side that could have been  seen and punished.

It is funny to note that Henry to win the decisive penalty had to clearly show the referee that she was being held to get the foul, otherwise it would not have been given, as it happened in the first half of the game.

External factor aside, it was certainly not a great performance from France, way too many technical mistakes on the final ball and passes. Against a team playing physically and pushing you in virtual and real sense, you can either raise your physical level to start a trench battle but it  would means no football being played. And with a random decision making referee, it can quickly lead to being red carded without warning.

Or you can try to play better football, go round the opposition defense and that was the logical option. So France kept trying to breach the Icelandic defense without much success, because the technical link between players was not there.

Some players under performed, others clearly lacked match sharpness, the speed of play and passing precision was missing in the final third for Les Bleues against a tight defensive block. It is not easy at all to go through or around such a good defense, but having Le Sommer as a lone striker was not great.

In the end France finished the game with four attacking players Diani, Delie, Thiney, le Sommer plus Abily and Henry in midfield and having numbers up front certainly helped.  .

Credit to the players for battling until the end of a poor game in term of team performance. Some individuals shone throughout the game, but many players were just average or below average and will need to raise their level against Austria.

At the end of the day, Iceland had a clear gameplan to disrupt the French attacking game and it worked well, while France had a gameplan and did not apply it to the best of their technical ability.

Attacking football in the end prevailed, but it was very close to another failure and 1-0 defeat as we have seen many through the years for France. There will be work to do in training to try to solve the problems as the next game against Ausria is likely to follow the same scenario.

 

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France, International football

France make one change for the Euro 2017 squad, what are the tactical consequences?

On deadline day, Olivier Echouafni has been forced to withdraw Amel Majri and replace her with Clarisse Le Bihan as the OL winger’s ankle injury did not heal quickly enough.

A sad news, as Majri was one of the rare left-footed player in the France squad alongside Karchaoui and it is likely to upset the balance of the team. There is a risk of seeing the left-wing barely used in attacking schemes, if the right player coupled with the right tactic is not selected.

 

The full squad list :

GK (3) : Sarah Bouhaddi (OL), Méline Gérard (OL), Laëtitia Philippe (Montpellier),

DF (7) : Laura Georges (PSG), Jessica Houara d’Hommeaux (OL), Sakina Karchaoui (Montpellier), Griedge Mbock (OL), Ève Perisset (PSG), Wendie Renard (OL), Aissatou Tounkara (Juvisy)

MF (8) : Camille Abily (OL), Élise Bussaglia (Wolfsburg), Grace Geyoro (PSG), Amandine Henry (Portland), Claire Lavogez (OL),  Clarisse Le Bihan (MHSC), Gaëtane Thiney (Juvisy), Sandie Toletti (Montpellier)

FW (5) : Camille Catala (Juvisy), Marie-Laure Delie (PSG), Kadidiatou Diani (Juvisy), Eugénie Le Sommer (OL), Elodie Thomis (OL)

Now the question is how will the coach balance the side to avoid having a weaken left side? We know a right-footed player will play on the left-wing and the majority of them will come inside leaving a long corridor for Karchaoui to run into the space.

 

Let’s have a look at the tactical options chosen by Echouafni since he took over from Bergeroo:

France Brazil 4-4-2 system no Majri, Lavogez left-wing, Thiney Le Sommer up front

France Albania 3-5-2 no Majri, Karchaoui left wing-back, Le Sommer Le Bihan up front

England France 4-4-2 Majri left-back, Lavogez left-wing, Le Sommer Thiney up front

France Spain 3-4-1-2 Majri left wing-back, Thiney at 10, Le Sommer Delie up front

France South Africa 4-2-3-1 Majri left-wing, Abily at 10, Le Sommer up front

England France 4-4-2 no Majri, Lavogez left-wing, Thiney Delie up front

France Germany 4-2-3-1 Majri left-wing, Abily at 10, Le Sommer right-wing Delie up front

USA France 4-3-3-Majri left-wing, Toletti at 10, Le Sommer up front

Nethelands France 4-4-2 Majri left-wing, Le Sommer Thiney up front

 

So what we can we guess from the games and tactics ?

If a back 3 is used Karchaoui will be the left-wing back number one choice with Perisset the second choice.

If there is a back 4, Karchaoui will again be the first choice left-back with Perisset as a second choice and Houara as a third choice.

Now, we know that a right footed player will play on the left-wing and it is a problem well known to France as seen with the men’s team at Euro 2004. Jacques Santini used to put Zidane there to combine with Lizarazu’s overlap.

So it looks like Claire Lavogez will fill up that Zidane role with Karchaoui her sidekick the same way as Lizarazu was for the playmaker. Now, it is quite clear that Lavogez recent performances in the France shirt have been a it underwhelming.

There is no doubt that if she is selected as a starter due to Majri’s injury, she will need to find her form and express herself as part of the team, otherwise we know that the ball will tend to go towards the centre of the pitch with Henry, Abily or Bussaglia and then towards the right wing with Thomis or Diani will be using their speed to create chances.

Another option is to use the 4-3-3 system and have Le Sommer as the left-winger with Thiney or Delie as the lone striker, an option that would bring some question mark about the finishing.

To be fair, none of the main strikers who have been around for many tournaments have managed to lead France to even a tournament final. While, goalscoring should not depend on them obviously, it is quite obvious that playing Le Sommer on the wing would not be the greatest idea.

Looking back at the 2011 World Cup, Thiney was used on the left-wing by Bruno Bini but it does nt look like an option used at all by Olivier Echouafni.

Then you have Majri’s replacement Clarisse Le Bihan who mainly featured under Bergeroo as the Thiney replacement when the Juvisy player was exiled with the MHSC forward playing in the same role and even getting her shirt number.

She is another central player like the other seven midfielders selected by the manager, so she is defnitely not a like for like replacement for Majri.

Everythig points to Lavogez being the “natural” replacement for Majri in the starting 11 and it will mean the players in the left side corridor Karchaoui, Lavogez and Le Sommer will have to work it out together. For example, when to drift inside for Lavogez and drift outside for Le Sommer, while combining those movements with Karchaoui’s forward run.

Olivier Echouafni has two friendly games against Belgium and Norway to find the right formula and balance, before the opening game against Iceland in Tilburg on the 18th of July.

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France, International football

France players for the 2017 Euros and their previous tournament experience

Olivier Echouafni has named his 23+6 reserves squad for the UEFA 2017 Euros to be played next month in the Netherlands.  Here we will look at how much tournament experience the France squad has gathered through the years.

 

The full squad list :

GK (3) : Sarah Bouhaddi (OL), Méline Gérard (OL), Laëtitia Philippe (Montpellier),

DF (7) : Laura Georges (PSG), Jessica Houara d’Hommeaux (OL), Sakina Karchaoui (Montpellier), Griedge Mbock (OL), Ève Perisset (PSG), Wendie Renard (OL), Aissatou Tounkara (Juvisy)

MF (8) : Camille Abily (OL), Élise Bussaglia (Wolfsburg), Grace Geyoro (PSG), Amandine Henry (Portland), Claire Lavogez (OL), Amel Majri (OL), Gaëtane Thiney (Juvisy), Sandie Toletti (Montpellier)

FW (5) : Camille Catala (Juvisy), Marie-Laure Delie (PSG), Kadidiatou Diani (Juvisy), Eugénie Le Sommer (OL), Elodie Thomis (OL)

Reserves : Pauline Peyraud-Magnin (OM), Marion Torrent (MHSC), Aminata Diallo (PSG), Clarisse Le Bihan (MHSC), Valérie Gauvin (MHSC), Mylaine Tarrieu (OL)

 

Here are the players that played in the previous  international  competitions

World Cup 2003 (1): Laura Georges

Euro 2009 (7): Laura Georges, Camille Abily, Elise Bussaglia, Amandine Henry, Gaetane Thiney, Eugenie Le Sommer, Elodie Thomis

World Cup 2011(9) : Wendie Renard, Laura Georges, Eugenie Le Sommer, Camille Abily, Elodie Thomis, Elise Bussaglia, Gaetane Thiney, Marie-Laure Delie, Laetitia Phillipe

Olympic Games 2012 (10+1) : Sarah Bouhaddi, Laura Georges, Wendie Renard, Camille Abily, Elise Bussaglia, Camille Catala, Gaetane Thiney, Marie-Laure Delie, Eugenie Le Sommer, Elodie Thomis, Laetitia Phillipe*

Euro 2013 (12) : Sarah Bouhaddi, Wendie Renard, Laura Georges, Jessica Houara, Elise Bussaglia, Amandine Henry, Camille Catala, Camille Abily, Eugenie Le Sommer, Elodie Thomis, Gaetane Thiney, Marie-Laure Delie

World Cup 2015 (16): Sarah Bouhaddi, Meline Gerard, Laura Georges, Jessica Houara, Amel Majri, Griedge M’Bock Bathy, Wendie Renard, Camille Abily, Elise Bussaglia, Amandine Henry, Claire Lavogez, Elodie Thomis, Marie -Laure Delie,  Kadidiatou Diani, Gaetane Thiney, Eugenie Le Sommer

Olympic Games 2016 (15+1): Sarah Bouhaddi, Meline Gerard, Griedge M’Bock Bathy, Wendie Renard, Sakina Karchaoui, Amandine Henry, Amel Majri, Jessica Houara, Eugenie le Sommer, Camille Abily, Claire Lavogez, Elodie Thomis, Kadidiatou Diani, Elise Bussaglia, Marie-Laure Delie, Laetitia Phillipe*, Sandie Toletti **

*alternate at the London and Rio Olympics did not play

** alternate at the Rio Olympics did not play

 

The player with the most experience is Laura Georges with 7 tournaments played so far.

The we have a quartet of Camille Abily, Elise Bussaglia, Eugenie Le Sommer and Elodie Thomis with 6 tournaments played.

Gaetane Thiney , Wendie Renard, Marie-Laure Delie all come next with 5 tournaments

Amandine Henry and Sarah Bouhaddi have been selected in  4 tournaments

Jessica Houara has taken part in 3 tournaments

Camille Catala, Meline Gerard, Amel Majri, Griedge M’Bock-Bathy,  Claire Lavogez, Kadidiatout Diani have played in  2 tournaments

Sakina Karchaoui has played 1 tournament

Laetitia Phillipe has taken part in 1 tournament but was an alternate twice at the London and Rio Olympics.

Eve Perisset, Aissatou Tounkara, Grace Geyoro and Sandie Toletti who was an alternate at the Rio Olympics will take part in their first senior tournament.

 

If we compare the squad to the one from the  last tournament played, the Rio Olympics last year (with 18 players) Sabrina Delannoy and Louisa Cadamuro have retired from football, while Kheira Hamraoui lost her way by moving from PSG to Lyon and ended up with little to nearly no playing time and lost her place to Grace Geyoro.

If we compare the squad to the last tournament with 23 players ie the 2015 World Cup in Canada : Celine Deville, Laure Boulleau, Sabrina Delannoy, Kenza Dali, Louisa Cadamuro, Annaig Butel and Kheira Hamraoui are not there.

 

So the France WNT are clearly one the favourite to win the 2017 Euros, but we know that they need to solve their mental weakness problem and they also need to be able to finish their chances when it matters. And it shows in their final games in the last tournaments.

Euro 2009 :  lost on penalties to Netherland in QF 0-0 at full time

WC 2011 : lost to the USA 4-2 in the SF,  lost 2-1 to Sweden in 3rd place play-off

OG 2012 : lost to Japan 2-1 in SF, lost 1-0 to Canada in 3rd place play-off

Euro 2013 : lost to Denmark on penalties in QF 1-1 at full-time

World Cup 2015 : lost to Germany on penalties in QF 1-1 at full time

OG 2016 : lost to Canada 1-0 in QF

 

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footofeminin articles, France

France half season review and the road to the 2017 Euros

The France WNT has started a new cycle with a new manager Olivier Echouafni back in September 2016. Here we have a look at his first four months in charge and what can be expected for the next seven ones.

 

2016 : four trials games to learn about the team

Olivier Echouafni has tried 27 players in four games, since he tas taken over in September. The manager wanted to see as many players as possible and it included a marquee return for Gaetane Thiney ( and also some of her Juvisy team-mates Catala, Soyer and Bilbault).

In certain cases, call-ups were also due to recurring injuries to regular players. For example, Thomis and Kaci have not been selected so far for the team since September.

Besides Necib ( retirement) and Delannoy ( retirement from international football), the manager has selected at least all the players that were called up during Phillipe Bergeroo’s tenure.  Three players got their first cap under Echouafni. Delphine Cascarino, Eve Perisset and Aissatou Tounkara.

 

Statistics

4 games, 2 wins,2 draw , 8 goals for, 1 goal against

Players used : 27

Goalscorers : Le Sommer (3), Hamraoui (2), Lavogez (1), Le Bihan (1), Delie (1)

Assists : Toletti (2), Abily (1), Bussaglia (1), Thiney (1)

Captains : Renard (2), Bussaglia (1), Henry (1)

 

Results :

France – Brazil 1-1

France Albania 6-0

England – France 0-0

France – Spain 1-0

 

2017 Seven warm-up games to fine-tune the Euro 2017 squad

If the first half of the season was a discovery phase for the manager, the second half will help him to make the final choices in his Euro 2017 23 players squad list. The January game against South Africa will allow him to test players and open the squad to players that played at the U20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea.

The SheBelieves Cup will be  a good test with teams from the Top 5 FIFA  ranking and a short but intense fixture list. The players who will be selected for that tournament are likely to be on the trip to Netherlands, if their performance there justify the manager’s choice and they do not get an long term injury until the end of the season.

The  fixture list (as of today)

22.01.17 France – South Africa, Saint-Denis (La Réunion) (friendly)
01.03.17 France – England, Chester (SheBelieves Cup)
04.03.17 France – Germany, Harrison (SheBelieves Cup)
08.03.17 USA – France, Washington (SheBelieves Cup)
07.04.17 Netherlands – France, Utrecht (friendly)
There will be also two more friendlies organised during the Euro 2017 preparation (June-July)

UEFA Euro 2017, Pays-Bas
18.07.17 France – Island, Tilburg (2017 Euros )
22.07.17 France – Austria, Utrecht (2017 Euros)
26.07.17 Switzerland – France, Breda ( 2017 Euros )

Note :  this is the translation from the footofeminin.fr orginal article ; http://www.footofeminin.fr/Bleues-De-2016-a-2017-en-route-vers-l-Euro_a13214.html

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Division 1 Féminine, footofeminin articles, France

Amandine Henry in PSG training camp before officially signing up in January

Her move to PSG had been rumoured for a while now, the France WNT midfielder will play a few months for PSG before going back to the USA.

The PSG team are going towards Montpellier this morning, where in there will have a pre-season training camp in the South of France ( Hérault department number 34).  A new player has been added to the squad that is currently at the top of the League.

Amandine Henry will officially sign up in early January  will make use of the four days camp to prepare for her three months stint (until March)  with PSG Feminines.

In Division 1 Feminine, she has played for Hénin-Beaumont, CNFE at Clairefontaine and Olympique Lyonnais.  PSG will be her fourth club in the French top division. This is a good time to get back into the groove as 2017 will be an important year where France will take part in the 2017 Euros in the Netherlands.

As she has been operated for an athletic pubalgia in early November, Amandine Henry needs to get back into her rhythm and the three months PSG offer is the right one for her. She recently declared that she needed some competitive football before going back to the NWSL. She did her rehab in Qatar, and straight after her time at PSG, will go back to the Portland Thorns and play in the National Women’s Soccer League .

This is the translation from the article on the website http://www.footofeminin.fr that you can find here 

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Arsenal Ladies, France, International football

Why I enjoy watching teams’ training sessions

I have been watching women’s football for nearly 15 years now and I see a lot of value in watching teams training sessions.

Today I was lucky enough to watch an Arsenal Ladies training session at London Colney and it was really an eye opener on some of the players. You can see things in training that explains why some players are picked while others are on the bench.

I was pleased  to see Rachel Yankey and Jodie Taylor in action, Taylor even managed to score a goal while Yankey was at left-back for the whole session. I will write more on today’s session once the season is over.

So through these years, I was lucky enough to be invited to many training sessions from French teams. For example, I saw the PSG women training sessions prior to the Glasgow Champions League away game and how they were setting up for the game the next day. I was also invited to watch training at Montpellier HSC when Jennifer Beattie arrived over there a few seasons ago.

I saw many training sessions from France WNT under Bruno Bini and a couple when Phillipe Bergeroo was the manager. I also witnessed a few sessions from France B teams and from the U19 side as well.

Those sessions help you understand the coaches’ philosophy and what they want to achieve in games. That’s why I find it sad that so you can’t really have access to the England teams the way you can for the France teams. I did manage to see a bit of an Emgland one back in Cyprus as England were training at the same time as France in the training complex, next to Larnaca’s airport 😉

I think, it was really interesting to see the Arsenal Ladies in training today as it confirmed what I have been seeing in term of performances from some players throughout the season.

 

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