The French national team faces its Portuguese counterpart, and minds have already turned to the Olympic Games

The French national team faces its Portuguese counterpart, and minds have already turned to the Olympic Games

After the tears of August 12 in Brisbane, all eyes are on the Olympics horizon. For the third time in a row, the Blues left the World Cup at the gates of the semi-finals, after a stifling penalty shootout that went in favor of Australia, the country participating in the organization (0-0, 7-6 tab).

This dark streak is enough to raise doubts one year before the local Games, but it seems that the Blue wants to dispel these fears with the dawn of this new season, which begins Friday with this completely new competition, which also qualifies for the Olympics. First against Portugal, before going on to play in Austria on Tuesday.

Having already qualified as hosts, the Blues will be able to use this first women's edition of the UN League to maintain the positive group dynamic and accumulate “experience”, in the words of Wendy Renard.

“We just have to act”

Because according to the 33-year-old captain, it was “experience”, not reason, that went wrong in Oceania: “Many were experiencing the World Cup for the first time and experience cannot be bought. “I hope we continue to store some maturity,” she said on Wednesday in Clairefontaine. And some vices.”

For young fullback Selma Basha, “very solid foundations” have been laid in Australia for future competitions. “We had everything, everything was perfect, we spent 52 days together. There was nothing to complain about, this will help us in the future even if we want to win the World Cup.”

The 22-year-old Lyon player continued: “After this World Cup, I said I stopped talking, and we just have to act.” With their new coach Hervé Renard, the Blues have good reasons to believe in reaching the international podium: their consistency at the highest level – systematic quarter-finals in major competitions since 2009 – is unparalleled at global level, and their squad appears to have finally been built on clear headlines.

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The relationship between the more experienced (Reynard, Eugenie Le Sommer) and the younger ones (Salma Pasha, Maël Lacrar, Vicky Pecheux) works exactly like Renard's method, an instrument of choice that is at the same time protective, demanding and enabling towards its executives and officials. Her off-field work focuses on the mental aspect.

Return of the injured

“I missed a lot of little things, but the mental aspect is important to the extent that you put your game on point, because it is also a strength of character to be able to do that against any team,” said Eugenie Le Sommer, 34.

With one year to go before the Olympics, the second target of Hervé Renard's two-year contract, the Blues can also count on the return of the injured, who were sorely missed in Sydney.

In the first meeting after the World Cup, Hervé Renard also called up defender Gregg Mbok, who returned after a serious knee injury, and Amandine Henry, who had to abandon the trip to Oceania less than two weeks before the “event”.

There are three world-class internationals missing from their roster: defender and inspiration Maile Lacrar, midfielder Kenza Daly, and Naomi Feller, injured.

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About the Author: Lucinda Lima

"Desbravador de cerveja apaixonado. Álcool alcoólico incurável. Geek de bacon. Viciado em web em geral."

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