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Women’s Euro 2022 – Blues: A new story and real hopes for the French team

The shock may be violent. June 28, 2019: it is in a Parc des Princes crowded with more than 40,000 ebullient spectators, firmly believing in the possibility of overthrowing the United States (1-2), that the Bleues miss out on their dream. July 10, 2022: it is in the rural and industrial anonymity of New York Stadium in Rotherham, 10,400 seats, that the Tricolores will try to close a scar which has not always finished making hearts bleed. Two stadiums, two atmospheres.

In three years, the changes have been radical. Because the period was chaotic. Barely dried tears, crampons full of regrets, it was a war with covert words, first, which was played at the FFF. With a wish expressed by some: that Corinne Deacon, responsible for a deleterious atmosphere according to them, leaves the boat. The battle ended in the public square and some were harshly punished. In three years, Gaëtane Thiney, Sarah Bouhaddi, Eugénie Le Sommer and of course Amandine Henry left the scene. Deacon, she firmly holds her post that Noël Le Graët seems determined to leave to her.

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These three fratricidal years have left their mark, of course. But, on Sunday, a new story begins in the English North. That of a group built according to the principles and values ​​of its coach. Forget the omnipotence of Lyon, here, the horizons are varied. Players from PSG, of course, but also from Juventus, Chelsea, Bordeaux or Paris FC. Proof that French football, if it has not been able to completely surf on the popular success of 2019, the fault of a Covid which has hurt, continues to grow everywhere and to export its best players.

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Prisons and an enigma

Sunday is a new story because it’s a new group, younger, less experienced but perhaps more carefree. “It’s possible that the freshness of the group plays for uswe also blew Laure Boulleau, the former French international and PSG player, when highlighting this tricolor troop. In my generation, we used to approach previous competitions with players with a lot of experience. But maybe we missed that freshness at some point. Sometimes, by thinking too much, we can also fail…“. But since it takes everything to make a world, and therefore a group, Deacon ended up going back on his choices.

To supervise the young pack, it is Wendie Renard who will be at the helm. Returning to captain unexpectedly, she remains the boss, surrounded by other inmates, such as her friend Griedge Mbock, Grace Geyoro or Kadidiatou Diani. But it is another player who will be expected at the turn. Absent in 2019 but promised to the top of world football, Marie-Antoinette Katoto is playing her first international competition with the label of prodigy that sticks to her Basques. At 23, if the Bleues want to have a real chance of going all the way, she must take charge of the destiny of this team. No small feat.

You don’t want to face them…

The chances of going to the end, precisely. On the starting line, statistical predictions put Les Bleues in the pack of legitimate favorites. Logic as this Euro appears open. As often with France, talent is not in question. This team is steeped in it and frightens the whole of Europe. On the BBC on Friday, at the time of the draw between Sweden and the Netherlands (1-1), possible opponents of the Habs in the event of qualifications in the quarters, the three “pundits” – understand consultants – present (Alex Scott, Fara Williams and Anouk Hoogendijk) were of the same opinion: “Les Bleues, you don’t want to meet them…“.

This is the big risk that awaits the Blues in this group D quite widely within their reach. It is against the toughest adversary that Corinne Deacon’s troupe will therefore begin its quest for the eternal. The Italians, quarter-finalists of the last World Cup, promised “courage and sacrifice“, a way of drawing the balance of power expected in Rotherham on Sunday. Assume yourself, free yourself and believe in your lucky star, even when it takes malicious pleasure in fleeing you when the quarters arrive. This is the recipe to follow for this France team. The hope is real because the story is new. Hoping that the end is too…

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