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Already qualified for the quarter-finals, the Bleues face Iceland on Monday for their last group match of the Women’s Euro 2022. After having shone in the first meeting against Italy, Grace Geyoro is now the new star of the ‘effective. While star striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto had to leave her teammates due to injury, the PSG midfielder carries French hopes for the rest of the tournament.
The France team has lost its goal machine. Since the package of Marie-Antoinette Katoto, seriously injured in the knee during the meeting against Belgium last Thursday, the Blue ones must now find a new leader for the rest of the competition, while they play a last group match, Monday July 18, against Iceland.
The salvation could come from Grace Geyoro, who splashed the meeting with her talent during the first expeditious victory of the Blue against Italy (5-1). The PSG midfielder scored an unprecedented hat-trick for his 50th selection for the France team, two and a half weeks after a worrying injury.
“I say to myself: ‘But tonight everything is going to fit in fact!’ It was chained. I did not have time to achieve my first goal and the second arrived… Same for the third”, she told AFP after her almost perfect performance.
Grace Geyoro for her 5⃣0⃣th selection:
👉 1st player in history to score a hat-trick in the first half of a Women’s Euro
👉 First goals in a major competition
👉 Player of the Match
— French Women’s Team (@equipedefranceF) July 11, 2022
The captain of PSG had probably not bet on such a scenario at the start of the competition. She started the Euro without a single match in her legs since May 29, an eternity for a professional football player.
Grace Geroyo, a real midfield metronome, was indeed forced to skip the two preparation matches for Les Bleues after a sprain suffered on June 21 at Clairefontaine, during a training session. With a mind of steel, she managed to recover at high speed to be ready for the start of European competition: “I tried to put all the chances on my side to be in good shape for this first match”.
From Orleans to PSG
The 25-year-old has built her career without asking any questions. Originally from Kolwezi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the young woman arrived in Orléans, France, at the age of two. From eight years old, she follows in the footsteps of her big brother. “He was a footballer, his friends were my friends, when he played football, I went there too,” she told Onze Mondial magazine. “When he liked football, I liked football, when he liked chocolate, I liked chocolate, it was like that, it was my big brother”.
But her mother does not see this passion with a very good eye: “She was really against it, suddenly, it was complicated. She was afraid. Before, women’s football was not like today, it didn’t work. not on TV, we didn’t know how it was going to evolve. She was a little afraid of all that”.
But Grace Geroyo was quickly spotted and joined the Clairefontaine training center at the age of 14, before signing for PSG. The beginnings are not easy, but she clings: “If I had not believed in it, I would never have arrived there. My teammates lived in Paris, me, my family lived in Orléans, I had to take the train, the bus, I came home late. I had to get up earlier than the others. (…) Passion and dreams allowed me to overcome obstacles”.
The disappointment of the Mondial-2019
The dream officially began in 2014, when she played her first women’s D1 match at the age of 17. Three years later, she already obtained the title of best hope of the season. Having become one of the centerpieces of the capital club, she won her first titles with a Coupe de France in 2018 and the championship in 2021.
But his debut in the national team is more complicated. During the Mondial-2019 organized in France, she only played a few minutes. Coach Corinne Deacon prefers to rely on the experienced Amandine Henry and Élise Bussaglia. An experience that is still painful. “When you experience such an event, you want to play, it’s logical. I am a competitor. I was there, proud to represent France, but I also really wanted to play and bring a more to the team”.
Despite this disappointment, Grace Geyoro bided her time. In recent years, she has become the pillar of the midfield of the France team. While Élise Bussaglia has retired and Amandine Henry is no longer in the coach’s small papers, it is now she who drives the game and who now also knows how to take the lead in attack. “I had a lot of coaches who blamed me for that before. I had to work more in front of goal because I tend to be in these situations a lot,” she conceded to AFP. after the game against Italy.
Off the field, she also knows how to make herself indispensable to the team. Known for her joie de vivre, she “likes to tease girlfriends”, as she explained to Ouest-France. Very present on social networks, she also loves to share her passion for fashion. Well in her sport, she also projects herself into the future and is currently studying journalism in parallel with her professional career.
Everything is now aligned for Grace Geyoro to become the new tricolor muse. But the road is still long until the final of the Euro, and even more complicated with the absence of Marie-Antoinette Katoto.