Kazakhstan showed great resistance against the French women's football team, quarter-finalist of the last World Cup, in their first match of qualifications for Euro 2021.
Rude, cold. Like the climate, the French seemed numb in their first qualifying match for Euro 2021, Tuesday, October 8 in Kazakhstan, they ended up winning 3-0, against a much weaker opponent.
We expected a rain of goals. But, carried by his goalkeeper Oxana Zheleznyak, imperial despite two goals conceded, Kazakhstan has shown great resistance against France likely still tired of the long journey, which returned to the competition after "his" World Cup and two friendlies against Spain in late August and Iceland on Friday.
Is it the eight-hour journey of more than 5,000 kilometers that they had to undergo to reach Chimkent? The kickback of the Mondial? The lost habit of these long trips, which had not been out of France since March 2018? Anyway, and despite the goals of Valérie Gauvin (58e), Eugénie Le Sommer (70)e), and a last of the Parisian nugget Marie-Antoinette Katoto (89th), the Blues served a cold match.
Opportunities on set pieces
The defense of 76e FIFA nation, far from serene but very low, made the round back to the breakers of the 4e world nation, quarter-finalist of the last World Cup, during the entire first period. And, most importantly, she relied on a masterful Oxana Zheleznyak on her line.
Les Bleues insisted on the right lane, without success, before multiplying the opportunities on set pieces. But nothing to do: each time, the Kazakh door stood up as guardian of the Kazakh curtain.
The one who evolves at the local club Biik Kazygurt, and who does not have the honors of the big stadium of the city (the Biik Kazygurt evolves on a smaller ground every week, off center of the city center), perfectly succeeded its adaptation to the Kazhymukan Munaitpasov, whose twenty-two thousand seats were painfully sprinkled with a thousand spectators on Tuesday night.
To disgust the French attackers: Valerie Gauvin even had to calm his anger, having seen a first attempt out by a reflex Zheleznyak (36).e), then by the post in stride (37e). And more, on his heads (41e), superbly diverted by the Kazakh door for the first, by the crossbar for the second (48)e).
Fortunately, Gauvin, disappointing against Iceland in Nimes four days earlier, was rewarded with all his attempts by a goal (58).e), picking up a header from Wendie Renard who hit the crossbar.
The return of Marie-Antoinette Katoto
The queen of the evening should have been Eugénie Le Sommer: by scoring the second French goal (70e), the Lyon striker, captain in the absence of Amandine Henry, moved closer to a small unit of the selection goals record held by Marinette Pichon (81).
She almost even equaled it at 85e, throwing himself to catch a ball released by Zheleznyak. She will have another chance in the next match of the Blue against Serbia in a month.
In its place, we note the return of Marie-Antoinette Katoto: removed from the French team for seven months, the scorer of Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG), 20 years and best scorer of the last championship of France (30 goals ), scored his second goal with the Bleues for his sixth selection.
It was difficult, but the main thing is there: the Bleues scored three times and won their first match on the long road qualifying that will lead them to the Euro in 2021 in England. The first of a new cycle, after the disappointment of the World Cup.