Les Bleues will get closer to the stars or go home, Wednesday (9:00 p.m.) in the semi-final of the Euro against Germany in Milton Keynes, terminus or springboard to a dream first international final for Wendie Renard and her hungry teammates.
Mondial-2011, JO-2012… and Euro-2022, will the third semi-final be the right one?
Wednesday’s “will only represent something if you win the trophy. We only talk about the winners,” the captain said to the press on Tuesday. “The objective is only on the trophy” and “you can count on us, we will be there”, insisted the Lyonnaise.
“I’m hungry, I want to go as far as possible and the group too”, also proclaimed the midfielder Charlotte Bilbault in the wake of a deserved but late victory in the quarters against the Netherlands (1- 0 ap), outgoing champions, Saturday in Rotherham.
The road to London and Wembley, where the final is scheduled for Sunday against England, now passes through Stadium MK, a 29,200-seat enclosure, where Frédéric Michalak and the XV of France had the good idea to dominate Canada during the Rugby World Cup 2015.
In football, the 2015 Women’s World Cup on the other hand awakens worse memories for the French, defeated by Germany in the quarter-finals after a penalty shootout (1-1, 5-4 ap ) in which Renard had participated, armband on his arm, in Montreal.
– “No complex” –
Water has flowed under the bridges since then, the OL captain continued his harvest in the Champions League with six additional titles, to bring his total to eight, but his trophy cabinet in selection remains desperately empty.
The Frauen-Nationalmannschaft, on the other hand, is covered with golden charms: double world champion (2003 and 2007), Olympic champion (2016) and eight times crowned at the Euro, including six times in a row between 1995 and 2013.
“We have often talked about German superiority, but there is no complex to have”, evacuated Renard, calling on her teammates to “play with intelligence, control emotions, not to panic”.
Between the fear of emptiness and the weight of history, the two nations are advancing on a thin thread before the fight expected on Wednesday, four days before the final against the English hosts, amazing against Sweden (4-0).
Les Bleues are there with a major handicap, having fought until extra time in a quarter-final scheduled two days after that of the Germans against Austria (2-0). Thirty minutes more, two days less recovery, but the French have so far evacuated the subject.
“We know that in a competition there will always be a disadvantaged team, today it’s us. Well, we’re not going to take that as an excuse. We’re going to go there and give everything”, thus launched Kadidiatou Diani , the right arrow of the tricolor attack.
The PSG winger caused the winning penalty against the Dutch in a game that the French dominated (33 shots and 10 corners), without however being effective against the goal.
– Without Bühl –
It will be necessary to adjust the target and not waste its ammunition against Germany and its iron defense, completely impermeable since the start of the tournament, and sometimes impressive in the surface of truth. With four wins, eleven goals scored and none conceded, Sara Däbritz’s partners have set the bar high.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s team offers an explosive cocktail between its thirties Svenja Huth and Alexandra Popp, on the one hand, and its “bottle class” represented by Lena Oberdorf and Giulia Gwinn. Winger Klara Bühl, 21 and sparkling in the quarterfinals, is on the other hand forfeited after a positive test for Covid-19.
Germany version 2022 resembles in this sense the France of Corinne Deacon, with its executives like Renard and Diani, its nuggets Selma Bacha and Melvine Malard, and its “young experienced people” Grace Geyoro and Delphine Cascarino, both 25 years old.
The Franco-German summit should produce sparks with resolutely offensive formations, even if recent history has given birth to miserly clashes in goal.
Voss-Tecklenburg had opened his mandate with a narrow 1-0 victory in February 2019 in Laval, before the girls of Deacon took their revenge in Strasbourg in June 2021, on the same score and again in friendly. Wednesday is a half and there will be no friends.