You may have noticed a large sporting gathering down in London has started this week. Nathan Carr (@NathanCarr67) casts his eye over the French ladies second group game as they go on the hunt for gold in the Football.
Saturday afternoon was about bouncing back for the French Women. Having begun their Olympics adventure with an extraordinarily resilient performance against powerhouses USA, where they took the lead by two goals before taking their foot off the pedal and in the end losing 4-2, much could be taken of out their credible display but the mere lapse in concentration at the death cost them.
So, with North Korea heading into the game yesterday high on confidence after their 2-0 victory over Colombia in Round One –it was always going to be a tough test for this elegant, talented French side. And this time, they made no mistake in taking their chances and the score line could not emphasize their ruthlessness to any higher degree.
No disrespect to North Korea but they are not the most blessed, lucrative team at the tournament and France were expected to seal the three points – and they did so in emphatic fashion.
But the French supporters would have to wait right up until the stroke of half-time to taste the first goal of the match as central defender Laura Georges powered home a header. It was a vital goal that would significantly change manager Bruno Bini’s half-time team talk.
The goal provided the much needed platform for France to blossom more and more into the game, and it was a stark contrast to their opponents North Korea – who were lacking imagination and impetus. Once in possession, they would amply punt the ball out of play on too many occasions. And this, inevitably, played into France’s favour.
France continued to dominate in all departments, exchanging neat, tidy one-twos all over the park and the forwards were interchanging efficiently, creating space for the midfielders to exploit.
It was not a case of if France would score, but when. And it would appear in the 70th minute when substitute 25-year-old Elodie Thomas, of Lyon, poked home before assisting fellow forward Marie-Laure Delie as the match was then dead and buried.
This time, unlike the opener against USA, France were able to sustain their mastery and despotism, consequently avoiding stumbling at the final hurdle. The points were wrapped up. France were not finished yet, no. They were hungry for more, and that appetite was evident when 22-year-old Wendie Renard was able to nod a corner into the back of the net with nine minutes remaining.
And Juvisy playmaker Camille Catala would complete the rout, capping off a sensational, convincing performance that shot France up to second in Group G, where they sit on three points, ahead of North Korea.
And as coach Bini explains, the players coped terrifically well to cast aside the pressure in the first period and then lay down the foundation to score four goals in the last 20 minutes at the end of the second half.
“At the beginning of the match, the players were nervous. In the second half, we played high quality football.”
And he was right. France’s second half demolishment of the Koreans was nothing short of exquisite. It was a beautiful performance. However, one must not get carried away with this. There is still one more game to go, and France are not assured of progression to the quarter-finals yet. Although content at present, the mood could suddenly change against Colombia who are no pushovers.
Now the French camp must turn their attention to Tuesday evening, where another imperious and ruthless display is needed to ensure a quarter-final spot is in the bag.