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France have dominated women’s club football for the best part of the last decade with Lyon picking up six of the last seven UEFA Champions League titles. Despite having a strong Lyon contingent throughout the national side they have failed to replicate the same success. They disappointed as World Cup hosts in 2019 with a quarter-final exit, in fact it seems there is a bit of a quarter-final curse on Les Bleues. They have not progressed further than this stage in a World Cup or European Championship since 2011.
They should expect to go at least one better this summer, without some of the pressures of being the host nation they had in 2019. They still have one of the most exciting squads in the tournament, especially in attacking areas, and here to take you through what to expect is our trader Rob Jones.
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Manager – Corinne Diacre
Corinne Diacre, 47, rose to prominence in 2014 when she became the first female coach of a men’s professional side in a major European league when she took over at then-Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot.
She took the national job in 2017 and controversy has followed ever since. Diacre certainly isn’t one to shy away from big decisions – most notably leaving Marie-Antoinette Katoto out of the 2019 World Cup squad. Following their exit from the World Cup, she has publicly ridiculed and fallen out with several players including former captain Amandine Henry – who has now been left at home for Euro 2022.
Diacre’s strong personality is a blessing and a curse – it remains to be seen if she can really get this team on the same page in a big tournament.
Captain – Wendie Renard
Wendie Renard, the 6’2 centre half, is a dominant figure in both boxes and has established herself as one of the very best in the women’s game over a number of years now.
She’s a threat from set pieces and an expert penalty taker – she is one of the most influential players in this squad.
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Star Player – Marie-Antoinette Katoto
Marie-Antoinette Katoto was omitted from the 2019 World Cup squad for being ‘too young’ but Katoto has now cemented her place as France’s best player and one of the most dangerous in world football. At only 23 years old, she has scored 108 goals in 113 club appearances for PSG.
For her country, she had netted 24 in 29 before the start of the tournament.
Going at nearly a goal a game in both domestic and international football, the young striker will look to keep that impressive form going in her first major tournament. She’s the second favourite to take home the Golden Boot, ahead of Arsenal & Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema.
France v Italy
Sunday 10th July, 8pm KO (New York Stadium, Rotherham)
TV: BBC Two & BBC iPlayer
France v Belgium
Thursday 14th July, 8pm KO (New York Stadium, Rotherham)
TV: BBC One & BBC iPlayer
Iceland v France
Monday 18th July, 8pm KO (New York Stadium, Rotherham)
TV: BBC Two & BBC iPlayer
Goalkeepers: Mylene Chavas (Bordeaux), Justine Lerond (Metz), Pauline Peyraud-Magnin (Juventus).
Defenders: Selma Bacha (Lyon), Hawa Cissoko (West Ham), Sakina Karchaoui (Paris Saint-Germain), Griedge Mbock Bathy (Lyon), Eve Perisset (Bordeaux), Wendie Renard (Lyon), Marion Torrent (Montpellier), Aissatou Tounkara (Atletico Madrid).
Midfielders: Charlotte Bilbault (Bordeaux), Kenza Dali (Everton), Grace Geyoro (Paris Saint-Germain), Ella Palis (Bordeaux), Sandie Toletti (Levante).
Forwards: Sandy Baltimore (Paris Saint-Germain), Delphine Cascarino (Lyon), Kadidiatou Diani (Paris Saint-Germain), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (Paris Saint-Germain), Melvine Mallard (Lyon), Clara Mateo (Paris FC), Ouleymata Sarr (Paris FC).
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