After its resounding success against Italy, the French team has set itself the task of continuing its momentum this Thursday evening against Belgium. Beyond the symbolism of a French victory on July 14, a success would rhyme with a qualification almost validated for the quarter-finals. A goal that the Blues have set themselves the task of achieving in the shoes of favorites.
On paper, Italy was the toughest opponent of Les Bleues. And given the unexpected and spectacular result (5-1), we would have expected the French team to approach their meeting against Belgium this Thursday evening (9 p.m.) with a hint of relaxation. It is not so. “We are still as focused and determined as before Italy” , swore captain Wendie Renard in a press conference. And for good reason : “There is a quarter-final to go for. » There you go, the big word is out. Quarter. From. Final. The goal is in everyone’s mind, but, as usual, Corinne Deacon came to temper the enthusiasm: “In the preparation, it does not change anything to be able to qualify from the second match because we will have to start by waiting for the result of Italy-Iceland (scheduled for this Thursday at 6 p.m., editor’s note) and this meeting against Belgium may not give us first place so in any case, our three-game mini-league will not be over. »
Nevertheless, France is now expected at the turn because since the start of the tournament, it has been one of the nations – along with Germany, England or Denmark – which have inflicted a river score on their opponent . “These games, I obviously watched them and the rout that Norway suffered against England, we do not wish it on anyonecontinues Deacon. But above all, I am focused on my group and our objective, which is to win. » For her part, Wendie Renard refutes any idea of “psychological battle” conducted at a distance against the other leaders of this Euro: “For us, it’s important to simply follow our merry way and the objectives that we have set together. But looking at the other results, we can see that the big nations are there, so it’s up to us to be there from the match against Belgium to continue this adventure. »
While it’s important to have self-confidence, it’s just as important not to be overconfident. And in this little game, the Bleues are, it seems, on the right track, which is necessarily a good omen when you play near the Steel City. “You know, when I came back to the locker room after Italy, the girls had already started their recovery” reveals the coach. “We never actually laughjoked Wendie Renard. “Fortunately it’s you who says it added the coach. More seriously: we were already talking about osmosis between the players, I think we can also talk about osmosis between the players and the staff. You ask me what words I used to calm the heat after this victory, very sincerely, I didn’t need to say anything. Sometimes there is no need to communicate, they know what they have to do. »
Understand: win. No matter how? Not sure : “What I want to see again are goals. Against Italy, nothing displeased me, even if during a football match, you can never be 100% perfect, so we pointed out two or three little things to improve. But the spirit is there: the girls are fighting and have proven that they have a lot of desire. And from there, you can’t be disappointed. » Belgians are warned: “Our goal will be to repeat the same performance. »And as long as you do, since there is no chance that a Frenchman will win the July 14 stage on the Tour, the symbolism would be beautiful on this national holiday. “We necessarily think about it, but we mustn’t get the wrong objective either: we have a match to play and to win.concludes Deacon, decidedly very pragmatic. But I hope despite everything that our match and our result will be the fireworks of our national holiday. »
By Julien Duez, in Rotherham