Football / Women’s Euro. In Ashby-de-la-Zouch, the Bleues have invested their base camp well

After a long preparation, the Bleues finally set foot on English soil five days before their entry into the Euro on Tuesday and settled in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in a comfortable base camp with red bricks and in the green surroundings, in the middle of the fields.

“It’s a ‘mix feeling’ between great tension and tranquility”, midfielder Kenza Dali once summed up in England. “The competition for some starts tomorrow (Wednesday), we will take the time to settle in, get our bearings and by Sunday we will be ready. †

Awaiting Italy on Sunday (9pm) in Rotherham, Les Bleues have dropped their bags an hour’s drive further south, in Champneys Springs in Ashby-de-la-Zouch (central England), a quiet and cozy resort on the countryside of Leicestershire.

“It’s our Clairefontaine in England! “laughs Eve Perisset, the future right-hand side of Chelsea, referring to the historic training center of the French team, in the Yvelines, which left the Blue after three and a half weeks of preparation.

The entrance to the establishment sets the tone: a narrow road crosses a cornfield to a modern “so British” red-brick manor, adorned with a swimming pool with large windows.

“A maze”

A stone’s throw from the spa that makes the reputation of the place, the training ground is dedicated to Les Bleues, in the vast park that surrounds the hotel.
“We see the quality of the field, it’s really unbelievable,” says Perisset. “It’s English quality, the terrain is always good,” Dali, former West Ham now at Everton, laughs after Tuesday’s training.

For the first session in England, Corinne Deacon had a full group as Wendie Renard, Grace Geyoro and Sakina Karchaoui, all injured during pre-season, returned to the collective.

On the first afternoon in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, between Birmingham and Nottingham, the French women were able to visit all the facilities available (meeting rooms, gym, spa, etc.), without having all the landmarks.

“It’s big, it’s a bit of a maze!” We get lost quickly, but we’re good,” laughed young Parisian Sandy Baltimore.

The accommodation area, which according to the FFF has “nearly 90 rooms”, will not be accessible to external customers, who will however be able to use the care center and restaurant mainly during the day.

Not the first choice

Champneys Springs, in the heart of the National Forest, was not management’s first choice. He had his sights set on another base camp, also offered in the UEFA catalog, but had to give it up for a surprising reason.

“At one point we had chosen one that was top notch. Except we learn that for two-thirds of the time we would be interning there, there would be weddings. It’s just not possible,” Corinne Deacon explained in May, underlining the “oxygenation potential” in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

Apart from the training, the atmosphere will be conducive to relaxation with possible walks in the large park, around the lake, the possibility to rest in the individual rooms, all equipped with a balcony or a small terrace, and moments of conviviality between players.

According to Selma Bacha, the preparation course was therefore animated by frenzied board game parties.

“We play “Werewolves” all the time (from Thiercelieux, editor’s note). During the night, the werewolves emerge and have to kill other villagers. At the end you have to find out who the wolves are. But there are too many cheaters! said the young Lyonnaise in preparation, exposing Hawa Cissoko and Kenza Dali in a big laugh.

For Les Bleues, serious things start against Italy in Rotherham on Sunday. They play the entire first round at New York Stadium, a stadium with fewer than 12,000 seats, or even the quarterfinals if they finish on top of Group D.

Leave a Comment