France Warm-Up for World Cup with 1-0 win over Canada
Having solidified their third place in the FIFA rankings after a good debut performance at the Algarve Cup, France took on the hosts of this summer’s World Cup, Canada, winning 1-0 through a goal from Eugenie Le Sommer.
It was a slightly difficult match for les Bleues who, still without Louisa Necib, failed to develop much rhythm. Canada’s physical approach and solid organisation frustrated France’s attempts to create chances after an early move when Amel Majri and Elodie Thomis combined from the wings. Ten minutes before half-time, Camille Abily chipped the ball through to Le Sommer, who controlled with her right before hitting a measured strike with her left past Erin MacLeod in goal for the opener. That is her 44th goal in 103 appearances for France, as her great goalscoring form continues.
The second half locked up a bit – Majri continued to impress in a more advanced role as Laure Boulleau came in at left back, and Sabrina Delannoy also barrelled forward from right back to decent effect, and while Canada played well enough in the middle, they also couldn’t get into good shooting positions. Sarah Bouhaddi had little to do in the French goal, apart from calmly dribbling her way out of trouble after an overly-casual backpass from Laura Georges, but the one-goal margin led to a nervy finish as Canada did start to press harder. Injury time led to a chaotic series of desperate headers to clear a Canada freekick before Bouhaddi finally ended up with the ball.
So, not champagne football by any means, but a good result against the team ranked eighth in a confrontation which, according to Delannoy post-match, should be good preparation for the opening World Cup match against England. The final pre-tournament friendlies in May suffer slightly from the difficulty of finding a high-ranked team available as opposition, but matches have been confirmed against Russia (22nd) and Scotland (21st).
In other positive news, Thursday also saw the Under-19 team qualify for the European Championships this summer, beating Russia 1-0 with a penalty from Marie-Charlotte Léger to top their qualifying group with three wins out of three. They had previously beaten Iceland 5-0 and Romania 2-0, Metz’s Léger getting a hat-trick in the first match and also scoring in the second. Allez les Bleuettes!
France XI: Bouhaddi – Delannoy, Georges, Renard, Boulleau – Thomis, Henry, Abily, Majri – Thiney, Le Sommer