The French started their Nations League campaign with an unconvincing victory against Portugal (2-0) on Friday evening.
A sluggish but victorious return to school. The Blues got the better of the Portuguese for their first match of the season (2-0), Friday September 22, in Valenciennes. They may not have shone in the game, but they wowed a crowd that came in large numbers to support them, and celebrated two returnees: Amandine Henry and Griedge Mbock.
Eugénie Le Sommer delighted
For her 184th selection, the Lyonnaise delivered a solid performance. Like her decisive pass with an inspired flick for Grace Geyoro (27th), Eugénie Le Sommer is the one who managed, through her movements and her discounts, to make her partners play the most. The attacker did not hesitate to get out of her zone with her offensive partners, Kadidiatou Diani and Selma Bacha, even if it meant taking the wings. A performance praised by Hervé Renard after the match. “Eugénie, I find her technically exceptional. At 34 years old, she manages to play matches at a fantastic athletic level”rejoiced the coach, even if the top scorer of the selection did not convert her two big chances.
The expected returns of Amandine Henry and Griedge Mbock
“It was a moment that I had been waiting for for a very long time, there was emotion. I had played the film several times in my head so it took me a few minutes for me to realize that I I felt good on the ground.” Amandine Henry has finally made her comeback in blue. Forced to withdraw during preparation for the World Cup, the midfielder waited a few more months to play his first minutes with France since November 2020. For a successful performance, especially in his region. “She restored stability and impact in the middle after fifteen average minutes at the start of the second half and we saw high class gestures on certain actions, noted Hervé Renard about the native of Lille. The icing on the cake was that she was able to share this moment with her ex-teammate at Lyon, defender Griedge Mbock, who had been absent for a year due to a serious knee injury, who also entered at the very end of the match.
The public from the North is there
For his first post-World Cup match, Hervé Renard and his Blues wanted to capitalize on the momentum created. The presence of more than 18,000 people – not specialists but motivated given the pre-match entertainment – at the Hainaut stadium was therefore a great reward. Slightly cooled at the start of the match by the fall and the Portuguese pressing, the stands then came alive, welcoming the French offensives with great clamors. Even if the Lusitanian fans also made noise in Valenciennes, the French coach was also delighted to“a very nice atmosphere”.
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The shy performances of Jean-François and Picaud
The two Parisians may have missed something on the Hainaut pitch on Friday evening. Chosen by Hervé Renard to start the match, they failed to raise their level of play to get noticed. After a good start, Oriane Jean-François faded and did not weigh. Yet little worried, Constance Picaud was not always reassuring in her few ball catches, and almost got lobbed at the very end of the match. “Now, it’s up to her to perform very well to keep the position she had this evening as number one. A little emulation is good for everyone and it allows us to put ideas back in place and move forward to progress.”soberly commented the French coach after the meeting.
Set pieces too little dangerous
For the Blues, the solution did not come from set pieces. As it has become accustomed to in its last outings, the French team scored its two goals during the course of the game. On the pitch at the Hainaut stadium, the Blues benefited from 10 corners, but never managed to appear dangerous in the exercise. It’s not for lack of size and presence in the area, notably thanks to Wendie Renard’s 82 meter, Selma Bacha’s velvet foot to shoot, or the deep connection between the two players, worked almost daily in the club.