past the fourth, the blues can dream big

Selma Bacha and her teammates rejoice after the victory against the Netherlands. Rotherham, 23 July 2022. FRANK FIFE/AFP

Freed from their curse, the French team can aspire to win their first major title. Next challenge: Germany.

A curse cannot be broken like this, with the wave of a magic wand. Knocked out of major international competition five times in a row in the quarter-finals, the French team had a (very) tense experience against the Netherlands on Saturday evening. A post, two saves on the line by the same Dutch player, an opposing goalkeeper in a state of grace and, in the end, 32 shots for a single small goal scored, in a penalty converted by Ève Périsset in extra time (1-0).

For a long time, the Blues’ lack of attacking realism feared the worst, namely another disappointment at this stage of the competition. Until this issue of 102e minute Late, but so precious.

“This group went looking for something importantanalyzed after the fact Corinne Deacon. He could have let go, because he gave so much, he tried so hard, and what I liked was that he didn’t let it go. He continued to insist on keeping the game plan fixed, everyone stayed in place. We really see that we work with a group, the players who came in contributed a lot. They did not absolutely weaken the team, quite the contrary..» With, as a symbol of the French coach’s words, the title of player of the match awarded to 21-year-old Selma Bacha, who came on at game time and who knew how to contribute her nerve and lusion of his youth to allow his partners to break this glass ceiling that paralyzed them.

Wednesday, a big obstacle

Relieved, relieved of a burden, the Blues can now aspire to experience a dream final at Wembley on July 31. But before that, at around 9pm on Wednesday, they will be in for a huge hurdle at a stadium in Milton Keynes that they are about to find out after picking Rotherham so well. In other words, Germany and its eight European crowns, an absolute record, and by far. Except that the Germans, after reigning as empresses of women’s football for two decades (1990-2000), experienced a hole after the Olympic crowning in 2016, their last title to date. But, since the start of this Eurocopa, they seem on the right track to rise from their ashes. Unless irreducible Gauls…

“There were tears of joy in the dressing room, it was crazyconfided Selma Bacha to the microphone of TF1 on Saturday evening. In this quarter, they played with mind and solidarity, it will be the same in the semi-finals. Germany is a great team, we will have to recover well and preparer.” A happiness to the extent of the frustration generated by these ten years spent touching the obstacle of the quarter-finals. Mentally, this milestone could have changed a lot for French women who will no longer hear the refrain of questions revolving around these repeated failures. Breaking the Dutch lock could also mean blowing a psychological padlock. Kadidiatou Diani herself admitted it “The curse has been broken. We have done something huge.”

This should now be confirmed in the semi-finals, because as captain Wendie Renard rightly said before challenging the Netherlands: “I don’t think it’s an end in itself to get through the quarters.” For the Blues, it should just be a step. strong founder liberator But a simple step on the way to a potential first major international title after which this French team has been chasing for so long.

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