the elimination of Les Bleues in the semi-finals does not erase a promising course

Defeats are always experienced as failures. That of the French women’s team beaten at the gates of the Euro football final by the Germans (2-1), is one in the eyes of the coach, Corinne Deacon: “We cannot say that it is a successful Euro. The final victory was our ambition, we cannot be satisfied with losing. »

But some defeats can be used for the future. This is the case for Les Bleues, who leave England having finally played a “last four” of continental competition, which had never happened to them. “ Not everything is to be thrown away. We have built things, there is a solid base. We still need a little more time”has also argued Corinne Deacon.

This finally broken glass ceiling has a taste of “come back to it” for the players and the coach. The maintenance of the latter until the 2023 World Cup is no longer too much in doubt, she to whom the French Football Federation had asked to reach the semi-finals in this Euro.

Some of the choices of the Northerner, inducted in 2017, were debated after a lackluster 2019 World Cup at home. His management has also been criticized. Finally, she can boast of having been able to lead the Tricolores into this promising European campaign and of having contributed to bringing the French women closer to the international summit. A look back at Corinne Deacon’s tenure at the head of Les Bleues in four key moments.

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The failure of the 2019 World Cup

Corinne Deacon was able to use the defeat in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup against the United States (1-2). The disappointment experienced three years earlier at the Parc des Princes in Paris served as an encouraging basis, especially since the Americans had been crowned a few days later.

“We were disappointed at the time. But, looking back, we lost by one goal against the world champions, who were unplayable. And we weren’t ridiculous or overpowered. We even tied the game at times.remembers Aline Riera, ex-international, close to Corinne Deacon.

“It was not a small team in front, even if they had the means to be able to beat them”, abounds Sandrine Roux. The former goalkeeper, who played Euro 1997 with Corinne Deacon, the first in the history of Les Bleues, believes that this defeat has allowed the technician to begin introspection. “After the failures come the observations and Corinne had this ability to observe the dysfunctions, first on herself, then on the players. She knows very well how to question herself and that’s what she did. »

The dismissal of executive players

Corinne Deacon proved it during this Euro: no player – however indisputable – has the immunity totem and is not sure to start the game. It erects the notion of” balance ” as fundamental for any sporting success. “We don’t always take the best to be able to find a balance at team level”she explained in April.

She did not hesitate to separate from Amandine Henry, midfielder and captain at the 2019 World Cup, or Eugénie Le Sommer, top scorer in activity, two players playing in Lyon, the most successful club in Europe. . The first had expressed the group’s discomfort at the 2019 World Cup in an interview with Canal + in November 2020, the date of its last selection, evoking “girls crying in their room”.

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It is an understatement to say that the technician had not tasted these declarations. “Before talking to the media, it would have been nice to talk to the person concerned. It’s good, sometimes, to wash your dirty laundry with your family.she noted in October 2021. [Amandine Henry] paid for his releases in the press, and in his book. It’s a non-event because we found replacements, and they did the job pretty well.”says Aline Riera today.

“If she felt their presence was important, she would have taken them. She does not sentimentality, but builds a team to succeed”recalls Marilyn Fort, historical leader of Soyaux, the only club of Corinne Deacon.

The support of Noël Le Graët

The former defender and captain of the France team arrived on the bench of Les Bleues with a lot of confidence. “We rolled out the red carpet for him. Everyone at the federation was delighted with his appointment and felt he was the right person.”, recalls an ex-close friend of the group.

But the quarter-final lost at the 2019 World Cup against the Americans was below the objectives set by the coach herself, who had advanced on an ambitious final. “The federal cap was the semis. But the [Fédération française de football] was so happy with the success of the Mondial, and the emulation aroused that she passed between the drops”declares this same old source close to the tricolor group.

The support of Noël Le Graët, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), has never been denied. “I have absolute confidence in her. For me, there is no doubt, she is the woman of the situation to continue to advance the national team “he said in June 2019 in an interview with Parisianafter elimination at the World Cup.

He had re-intervened in support, in December 2020, in the heart of the “crisis” caused by Amandine Henry: “That Corinne is angry with Pierrette, Paulette… The important thing is that she wins”, he said.

Before the start of the Euro, the president of the FFF had already assured that the coach’s contract “will surely be renewed until the World Cup at least”in July 2023. “When you have the confidence of your boss, you are much more serene to “perform”. ask to [Didier] The fields [le sélectionneur des Bleus]it’s primordial “notes Sandrine Roux.

Youth premium

The mandate of Corinne Deacon was also marked by the contribution of new blood. If the average age during this Euro was the same as during the 2019 World Cup (around 26 years old), eight outfield players (who do not play as goalkeepers) played their first final phase in England. And some have been able to pull out of the game.

“I really liked Clara Matéo with her speed, her technique and her vision of the game. She is always very fair and very strong in the last pass”, expands on former midfielder Louisa Necib about the noh 10.

Elected best player against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals and author of a remarkable entry against Germany, Selma Bacha is also part of the revelations. Just like striker Melvine Malard. “These young Lyonnaises have international experience with the Champions League. They arrived with a certain maturity in the challenge, the pressure., notes the international Gaëtane Thiney.

“There was a need for new blood. We should not wait until the last moment to renew the workforcesays Sandrine Roux, coach of the under-23 goalkeepers. We still have young quality players who are going to the Under-20 World Cup in August and who will be able to join the A’s in one or two years. »

A good omen before the 2023 World Cup. “We will grow and try to recover quickly. We reached the semi-final; next time it will be the final”already warns defender Selma Bacha.

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