Defeats are always perceived as failures. That of the French women’s team that is defeated by the Germans at the gates of the European Championship final (2-1), is one in the eyes of coach Corinne Deacon: “We cannot say that it is a successful Euro. The overall 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 are leaving England after finally playing a “last four” of the continental competition, which had never happened to them before. “ Not everything can be thrown away. We’ve built things, there’s a solid foundation. We need some more time”Corinne Deacon has also argued.
This finally broken glass ceiling tastes like “get back to it” for the players and the coach. There is no longer too much doubt about the maintenance of the latter until the 2023 World Cup, those whom the French Football Association had asked to reach the semi-finals at this European Championship.
Some of the choices made by the Northerner, inducted in 2017, were discussed after a mediocre 2019 World Cup at home. His management has also been criticized. Finally, she can boast of leading the Tricolores in this promising European campaign and of helping to bring French women closer to the international top. A look back at Corinne Deacon’s tenure at the head of Les Bleues in four key moments.
The failure of the 2019 World Cup
Corinne Deacon was able to make good use of the defeat in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup against the United States (1-2). The disappointment of three years earlier at the Parc des Princes in Paris provided an encouraging basis, especially as the Americans had been crowned a few days later.
“We were disappointed then. But looking back, we lost by one goal against the world champions, who were unplayable. And we weren’t ridiculed or overwhelmed. We even played a draw every now and then.recalls Aline Riera, ex-international, close to Corinne Deacon.
“It wasn’t a small team up front, even though they had the resources to beat them”, in abundance Sandrine Roux. The former goalkeeper, who played Euro 1997 with Corinne Deacon, the first in Les Bleues history, believes this defeat has allowed the technician to introspect. “After the failures come the observations and Corinne had the ability to observe the dysfunctions, first in herself, then in 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 at this European Championship: no player – no matter how unquestionable – has the immunity totem and is unsure whether he will start the match. It builds the idea of“balance” as fundamental to 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 part with Amandine Henry, midfielder and captain at the 2019 World Cup, or Eugénie Le Sommer, top scorer in activity, two players who play in Lyon, the most successful club in Europe. . The former had expressed the group’s discomfort at the 2019 World Cup in an interview with Canal + in November 2020, the date of the last selection, which was reminiscent of “girls cry in their room”.
To say that the technician had not tasted these statements is an understatement. “Before talking to the media, it would have been nice to talk to the person involved. Sometimes it’s good 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’ve done a pretty good job.”says Aline Riera today.
“If she’d felt their presence was important, she’d have taken them with her. She doesn’t like sentimentality, but builds a team to succeed.”remembers Marilyn Fort, historical leader of Soyaux, Corinne Deacon’s only club.
The support of Noël Le Graët
The former defender and captain of the French team landed on the bench of Les Bleues with great 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.”, remembers an ex-boyfriend of the group.
But the lost quarter-final at the 2019 World Cup against the Americans was below the goals set by the coach himself, who had moved on to an ambitious final. “The federal cap was the semi-final. But the [Fédération française de football] was so pleased with the success of the Mondial, and the competition aroused that she went through the drops”explains this same ancient 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 complete confidence in her. For me there is no doubt, she is the woman of the situation to continue to promote the national team “he said in an interview with . in June 2019 Parisianafter being eliminated from the World Cup.
He had intervened again in December 2020 in support of the heart of the “crisis” caused by Amandine Henry: “That Corinne is mad at Pierrette, Paulette… The most important thing is that she wins”, he said.
Before the start of the European Championship, the chairman of the FFF had already assured that the coach’s contract “will certainly be extended until at least the World Cup”in July 2023. “When you have the confidence of your boss, you are much calmer to ‘perform’. ask for [Didier] The fields [le sélectionneur des Bleus]it’s paramount”notes Sandrine Roux.
Corinne Deacon’s mandate was also marked by the introduction of new blood. If the average age during this European Championship was the same as during the 2019 World Cup (about 26 years), eight outfield players (who do not play as goalkeepers) played their first final phase in England. And some have been able to withdraw from the game.
“I really liked Clara Matéo with her speed, her technique and her vision of the game. She is always very honest and very strong in the last pass.”, expands with former midfielder Louisa Necib over the nOh 10.
Selma Bacha, voted best player against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals and author of a remarkable entry against Germany, is also part of the revelations. Just like striker Melvine Malard. “These young Lyonnaises have international experience with the Champions League. They came with a certain maturity in the challenge, the pressure., notes the international Gaëtane Thiney.
“There was a need for new blood. We don’t have to wait until the last minute to renew the workforcesays Sandrine Roux, coach of the under-23 goalkeepers. We still have quality young players who will go to the Under-20 World Championship in August and can go to the A’s in a year or two. »
A good omen for the 2023 World Cup. “We will grow and try to recover quickly. We reached the semi-finals; next time it will be the final”already warns defender Selma Bacha.