Les Bleues make a successful comeback in Serbia (2-0)

Eugénie Le Sommer, in Subotica, September 18.

Six months and eight days after the last outing, the Blues have successfully returned to school in the strange atmosphere of Subotica’s closed door, with a renewed team, effective if not flamboyant against Serbia (2-0) in qualifying for the Euro.

In the silence of the Gradski stadion, a small stadium a 2-hour drive north of Belgrade, the French team upheld the status of“Ultra-favorites” that Eugenie Le Sommer, captain of the evening, had assumed before the meeting: liveliness, technique and power were on the side of the visitors who provided the essential in the first quarter of an hour.

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However, it was decidedly not a normal recovery for the Blue, forced by the Covid-19 pandemic to take an endless break since March 10 against the Netherlands (3-3) at the end of the Tournoi de France, at Valenciennes and already behind closed doors. In the meantime, the round ball started to spin again, but the health threat did not dissipate. Faced with the virus, which caught up with assistant coach Eric Blahic just before the rally, the French women barricaded themselves in their comfortable hotel in Subotica.

Ultra-offensive team

At kickoff, deprived of five executives on injuries, in addition to goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi in ” pause “ with the France team, the coach Corinne Diacre had installed an ultra-offensive team and an experimental defense, with Elisa de Almeida (Montpellier) and Estelle Cascarino (Bordeaux) in an unprecedented central hinge in front of Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, the former – keeper number 2.

The Atlético Madrid player only had two balls to capture, in two stages (23e) and free kick (72e), in a one-sided match where Estelle Cascarino was reassuring in defense (22e, 40e, 51e), while his twin Delphine shone in attack on her right wing. The young Lyon striker shot (14e, 44e), much provoked and above all often centered as on the 2-0 goal scored by Amel Majri (15e), her OL teammate who scored a treble in the first leg (6-0) in November 2019.

Deacon also probably appreciated the good understanding between the attackers of Paris SG Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani, who combined in the area (30e, 35e) and were decisive in opening the scoring. Diani countered the Serbian defense and crossed the left for his sidekick who, with a header, forced the keeper to a reflex stop, canceled by the unfortunate Andjela Frajtovic who propelled the ball into his own goal (6e).

With this advantage quickly acquired, and held at the end of a second period without brilliance, Deacon allowed himself to offer a first selection to the promising Lyon striker Melvine Malard who, far from being intimidated, almost scored (76e, 86e) after entering the game.

The Bleues did not succeed everything, however, far from it, as evidenced by the awkwardness of captain Le Sommer, not always fair in her choices and ball catches, and always blocked with a goal of the record held by Marinette Pichon (81 goals).

After this third victory in three qualifying matches for the Euro, the Blue will nevertheless be able to breathe before joining North Macedonia on Sunday, two days before facing the penultimate European nation in the FIFA rankings in Sköpje.

The World with AFP


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