Has the French team changed in size, four years after the World Cup in France?

Before entering the race for the 2023 World Cup on Sunday against Jamaica, the Blues are still looking for a first big trophy.

Look in the rear view mirror. In 2019, the World Cup in France was expected to shake things up for women’s football in France, but also for its then-led flag team by Corinne Deacon. Four years after the eventual American world champions eliminated them in the quarter-finals, how far have the Blues evolved, who will start this new World Cup on Sunday 23 July against Jamaica?

Statistically and in terms of results, the French team continues to guarantee and weigh among the best teams in the world. Since the 2019 summer tournament, the Bleues have played 48 matches, for a record of four draws and five defeats, equal to 81% of wins. Until the setback (1-0) against Australia on 14 July, to complete the preparation, all the defeats had come against teams better positioned in the Fifa ranking (United States, Sweden and Germany twice).

An excellent statistical report

Among the victories, there are some successes against reference teams, such as the Netherlands (Euro 2022, Tournoi de France 2022), Brazil (Tournoi de France 2022), Germany or England (in a friendly between April and June 2021). At the European Championships in England, Wendie Renard and her teammates equaled their best performance in an international competition by reaching the semi-finals, such as at the 2011 World Cup and the 2012 Olympics.

To carry on these performances, however, there were no major upsets on the pitch. The group maintained a common backbone. Twelve players selected by Hervé Renard were already present in 2019, and eleven last summer at the Euro (seven played in both competitions). Enough to count on a natural progression of the workforce. “The expert players, who were there four years ago, have gained even more experience, and even the youngsters have matured and gained experience, in the league, in the Champions League, to get there, be ready and bring something extra.”observes Laëtitia Philippe, French international and consultant for France Télévisions.

Also in the game no revolution. “I haven’t felt a big change since 2019”says Patrice Lair, coach of the Girondins de Bordeaux women’s team. “We have a lot of transition phases, few phases of ball possession. The ideal is to be able to do both.” “We know the characteristics of France, the game doesn’t necessarily change much, it’s the players called up who have to overcome themselves in important competitions like these”adds Laëtitia Philippe.

Arriving on the bench less than six months ago, Hervé Renard wants to put his paw on the game of his players, “give more speed”, “fast forward”, “to be decisive” AND “more realistic”as he confided to Team magazine. “It takes an extra soul to have more”he assured, while the Azzurri are still looking for their first big trophy.

What level in the world hierarchy?

Because in four years, on the pitch, France has seen some of its opponents overcome symbolic goals and enter another dimension. Starting with England, home champion of the Euro last summer, the first trophy in their history. This was also the case for the Canadians, first-time Olympic champions in 2021 in Tokyo, where the French team was not even qualified to contest the tournament, an unprecedented absence since 2008.

“We want, for once, France to go all the way, to show something. We expect each competition to be even better than the last, so obviously we are demanding.”, says Charlotte Lorgeré, former international and consultant for France Télévisions.

“I think France wants revenge. They weren’t extraordinary at the European Championships, they lost against the Americans at the last World Cup. It was logical, but I think they could have done better.”

Charlotte Lorgeré, former international

to franceinfo: sports

Difficult to place in the world hierarchy, beyond the figures (fifth team in the FIFA ranking, fourth best European team), has the French team already reached its maximum potential, or can it show even more? “I don’t know if this team has matured”hesitates Patrice Lair, for which the Blues have yet to pass a course mentally to grow. “We must stop being afraid of teams like the United States (…) we must not have inferiority complexes.”

This World Cup can give them the opportunity to take this ladder and cross this threshold.

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