Against Jamaica, better known for its reservoir of sprinters, the French were sanctioned with a false start at the opening of the Football World Cup. Sunday at the Sydney Football Stadium, Les Bleues were neutralized (0-0) by a team that had never taken a point in the history of the competition; she had been beaten three times in 2019 for her first participation. After the match, the Jamaicans celebrated the draw as a victory on home soil. Frustrated and inevitably disappointed, the French players quickly returned to the locker room, many without even stopping in front of the journalists in the mixed zone.
Since 2011, the France team had taken the good habit of winning its first World Cup meeting, like the last three editions. This quack facing the 43e nation in the FIFA rankings ends the series. Straight in his fitted white shirt, the coach, Hervé Renard, delivers his message: “Football is getting tighter. We have to stay the course, I have complete confidence in this team. You can rely on us, don’t worry. »
The one who is playing his third World Cup – the second in six months after the one in Qatar – intends to rely on his experience: “I have already started a competition which I won with two draws [la CAN 2015 à la tête de l’équipe de la Côte d’Ivoire]. I will not remind you of the 2022 World Cup [son équipe saoudienne a battu d’entrée le futur champion du monde argentin]. We must not draw lessons too hastily. Teams that start out with a bang don’t always finish. »
Still, the performance of the Blue was not likely to reassure observers. At the end of a very complicated first period, the judgment was even more severe. “We got bumped into it. The first half was tough.”recognizes Hervé Renard.
Jostled by athletic and valiant Jamaicans, captain Wendie Renard’s teammates suffered. New French record holder for World Cup matches (17, out of 4 participations), striker Eugénie Le Sommer admits the shortcomings: “We didn’t create enough chances in the first half. We could have done better tonight. »
An analysis shared by Clara Mateo, aligned on the right side of the midfield: “I think there was room to win. We are disappointed. It is necessary to combine better to unbalance the opposing blocks in place and to demonstrate more technical accuracy. »
“Even more aggressiveness”
Yet it was the France team that got the vast majority of the scoring opportunities, leaving only a super-powerful free kick to star center-forward Khadija Shaw, magnificently deflected by goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin (41e). The French Kadidiatou Diani was dangerous on several occasions, doubly unlucky on a deflected shot which grazed the opposing post in stoppage time in the first period and on a header which hit the bar and then the post at the last minute of regulation time. “Opportunities had to be realized. We did not provoke this success enough”regrets Hervé Renard.
The coach is joined by his players, Clara Mateo in the lead: “The goal actions that we will have, we will have to put them in the background. We need to be even more aggressive and realistic. » Eugénie Le Sommer knows all about goals, she is the top scorer in Les Bleues history: “Kadi (Diani) got chances. It bodes well. »
Imperturbable despite this failed introduction, the coach tries to convey his confidence to his players and the external environment: “They showed reaction and fighting skills that will serve us well for the future. I trust them, I’ll tell you again, that’s how I work. »
As a good student, Le Sommer learned the lesson: “It’s not because we drew today that we have to throw everything away. It doesn’t call into questionshe recalls. We’re still alive, we can still be first. Do not panic. »
“Le Monde” deciphers the news and the challenges of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Professor Hervé Renard concludes by revealing part of his method to journalists: “You draw conclusions about a match. It’s normal. It’s your role. Me, I look at the positive side, I have a group to advance. We’ll meet again in a few weeks. » From July 29 against Brazil in Brisbane, announced rival of group F, we can guess if the coach’s strategy is a winning method or rather a Coué method.