Euro football for women: finally, the year of the Blue? First game next Sunday against Italy

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The players of the French team, one of the favorites of the competition, are looking for their first international title, on English grass pitches. They start on Sunday 10 July at the European Championships.

The quest for a first title for the French women’s team begins on Sunday, July 10 (9 p.m.) in Rotherham against Italy, known for being catchy and disciplined, a participation in the race for the Euro that must “set the tone” of the tricolor ambitions, finally put to the test in competition.

Les Bleues lands in the northern England town in the shoes of contenders for the coronation on July 31 at Wembley, in the wake of their captain Wendie Renard and a youth of undeniable talent such as goalscorer Marie Antoinette Katoto.

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Since the disappointment of the 2019 World Cup at home, completed in the quarter-finals, the formation led by Corinne Deacon has put on a renewed and victorious face, with 28 wins against two draws and a single defeat, in April 2021 against United States. States (2-0). “The European Championship is a common challenge, something that we naturally set ourselves. Today we have all our experienced players available, it is one of their last major competitions. There is more time to lose,” the coach said in May.

In his own words, Renard recalled this season: “I don’t want to become a world champion in friendly matches,” the OL multi-centre defender, soon to be 32, launched, eager to inaugurate his roster record.

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Carefree Favorites

France, the third country in the world, has inherited a group that is well within its reach, but it probably starts with the toughest opposition, a team from Italy (14th in the FIFA rankings) underway and carried by individuals like Cristiana Girelli , Barbara Bonansea and Sara Gama, the captain. “This opening game will be very important for us, we will have to set the tone,” recently expected goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, who plays in the Italian Championship, told Juve.

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“The first cup games are not necessarily the easiest to approach,” Griedge Mbock continued for the press on Thursday, the defender called on her teammates to “put minimal pressure on herself”. The French have an interest in not missing out on their start, while no decline has been reported so far in the big favorites field, be it England (1-0 against Austria at the start of the competition), Norway (4-1 against Northern Ireland) ), Spain (4-1 against Finland) and especially Germany, the most successful country in the Euro, which penalized Denmark with a devastating 4-0.

Facing the Azzurre, surprising quarter-finalists of the last World Cup, the Bleues will be able to count on some 470 supporters among the 9,500 expected spectators at the New York Stadium in Rotherham, with a total capacity of 10,500 places at the European Championship, according to the organizers. The French are wary of a team “fairly rough, disciplined, tactically in place,” Mbock said, approaching the competition with a question mark over Kadidiatou Diani, France’s 2019 World Cup star, reduced by an ankle injury.

Diani unsure

The Paris SG right winger, the second most capped player in the French group (71 caps), complained on Thursday of severe pain after a twist in training. The medical examinations nevertheless proved reassuring, according to concordant sources. However, if she were to do without Diani on Sunday, Deacon would not be short of resources on the offensive front. For example, Delphine Cascarino, used on the left wing by the carriage, can find the right corridor that she inspects as a holder with OL.

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This would mean revising plans on the left, but again, the French team is not helpless. PSG wisp Sandy Baltimore is applying for a starting spot, as is Lyonnaise Melvine Malard, goalscorer against Cameroon (4-0) during the preparation camp. The centre-forward position, on the other hand, has long been reserved for Katoto, who at the age of 23 is expected to be one of the stars of the Euro.

The PSG fireworks star has set the bar high this season, especially in the national jersey (15 goals in 13 games). It remains to be seen how she will withstand the pressure of a first international competition.

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