Women's Euro 2022 - 5 blue nightmares in the quarter-finals before facing the Netherlands
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Women’s Euro 2022 – 5 blue nightmares in the quarter-finals before facing the Netherlands

From our special correspondent in Rotherham,

Landing in the mixed zone after a tie with Iceland, Wendy Renard knew it. After a few questions about the tie that the Icelanders snatched (1-1), an expression quickly appeared on the table. The “glass ceiling” in the quarter-finals. Captain Bleues remained professional when answering, but in her position, there was some fatigue. “You’ve been telling us for years, “We stop at the quarters, we stop at the quarters.” We know that in the next few days we will get it right because we did not pass this course.‘, she admitted.

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If any player on this team wants to end this debate, it’s him. Renard will be part of all the disappointments of the past, from Euro 2013 in Sweden to the World Cup 2019 in France. Under Bruno Bini, under Philippe Bergeru, under Olivier Chauavne, then under Corinne Deacon, one imperative has always been: very close, so far. Going back to those five games that still haunt the blues.

Les Bleues in the quarter-finals – a curse that lasts

Credit: Quentin Guichard

Euro 2013: Danish heartbreaker

Quarter-finals France-Denmark
Linköping (Sweden)
Final score: 1-1 (4-2 on pens)

The 2012 London Olympics heralded the start of a new era. Despite Bruno Bini’s disappointing fourth place for Les Bleues, the win over Sweden in the quarter-final convinced the group they could look the best of nations in the eye. In this respect, Euro 2013 should, at least, represent a confirmation if not an increase.

In the group stage, Les Bleues starred. They crushed England (3-0) in the last group game to conclude the perfect first part of the tournament (9 points). After becoming a starter, Wendie Renard impresses her and starts getting people talking about her ability to score. In the quarter-finals, it is a Danish prodigy who faces the Blues. Third place in their group with two small points, the teammates of the promising Nadia Nadim were taken out thanks to … a tie.

Inevitably, the blues behind their backs have a mark. Still, it’s contagious shame that they start a quarter, and cash an avoidable bill. If Louise Naguib manages to put the two countries on the same level, the French, despite their apparent dominance, fail to score this crucial goal. Penalties arrive: Louisa Najib and Sabrina Delaney fail in their attempt, and Bruno Beni’s forces fly home. First slap, not the last…

  • What Bruno Bini said about her : “In the game, we don’t deserve to be eliminated, even if we had a bad first 35 minutes. […] Shots on goal, shot by some, shot by others“.

Blue’s ordeal contrasts with Danes’ joy during Euro 2013 quarter-finals

Credit: Getty Images

World Cup 2015: Repeater vs Germany

Quarter-finals France-Germany
Montreal, Canada)
Final score: 1-1 (5-4 on pens)

Bruno Bini is gone, Philip Bergero is the one who takes control of a team with strong connotations of OL and PSG. Without being favourite, the French arrived in Canada with “a lot of ambitionIt would be wrong to believe otherwise. In the group stage, the French national team managed to get out first despite its sudden defeat against Colombia (0-2). In the round of 16, South Korea were not as perfect (3 – 0) and then the European reference Germany with eight crowns but they are also two-time world champions.

However, on the ground, it is the French who take the match into their own hands. The indefensible Louisa Naguib carried them, believing they had achieved the feat before the Germans were awarded a generous penalty, by a Hungarian hope at the end of the match (83). In overtime, the inevitable Gaëtane Thiney misses alone in front of goal, and the Blues once again find themselves in a penalty shootout.

This time, the French picks are almost perfect. Even promising young Claire Lavogues (21 years old) finished the session. His shot was blocked by German goalkeeper Mannschaft der Frauen who qualifies for the last four, where they will collapse against the United States.

  • What Philip Bergero said about it : “There are 11 players from this group who will be there in 2019. It is important to know that dominance does not mean winning. You have to quickly learn the things that make matches win. I feel very sorry for these girls. Some fell two or three times. It’s too complicated for them tonight, and it’s not easy for me“.

Claire Lavogues crying in the arms of Philip Bergero

Credit: AFP

Olympic Games 2016: Bergero’s Fury

Quarter-finals France-Canada
Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Score: 0-1

They take revenge, Blue, after the 2015 scenario. In Brazil, hopes for a real medal are inflated by their performance in Chicken. The Tricolores scored only a small goal in the net for Team USA, the favorites for the final victory and managed to rally the quarter-finals without much trouble. Against Canada, there is a card to play … but the frustrated Philippe Bergero players will not play it (0-1).

Battling in commitment and envy, and above all unable to rebel after the opening match of the Canadian score, the French leave the competition with their heads down with a feeling that something is ending, like the announced departure of Louisa Naguib. In a press conference, Bergero used very harsh words against his players. For him, too, the adventure would end there.

  • What did Bergeru say? : “This team lacks fire at the important moments. In three years, when we were way behind in the score, we only came back once. We cannot go beyond this level. After the goal, we thwarted. This generation will have paid for all their mental problems“.

Eugenie Le Sommer at the 2016 Olympics

Credit: Getty Images

Euro 2017: a missed match against England

Quarter-finals France-England
Deventer (Netherlands)
Final score: 0-1

Hastily appointed by Noël Le Graët to replace Philippe Bergero, whose dressing-room notes have touched Olivier Chauafé, restores Olivier Chauavne with a near-impossible task: to build in eight months a team capable of finally overcoming the curse and winning a major international championship. Thanks to a streak of 11 unbeaten straight matches, the French women arrived in Holland with a strong intention to move forward.

But, during the She Believes Cup, the French team is so charismatic, faltering in the match, Les Bleues are second in their group and inherit England in the quarter-finals. After being denied Wendie Renard, suspended, Tricolores stuns on the counter after losing the ball to Eugénie Le Sommer. Unable to return despite some situations, they left Holland with a bitter taste and feeling, once again, that they were lost (0-1).

Camille Abele left the field in tears, in her last match of selection. Like others before her, she will end her career with a virgin list of international titles. For Olivier Chauafny, things will go quickly, too. It was first confirmed by Noël Le Graët, and finally separated in favor of Corinne Deacon a few weeks later…
  • What Olivier Chauafny said about her : “For ten months, you should know that this is our first defeat. Our series ended tonight, probably at the wrong time. The idea is that it starts again more beautiful. “

Olivier Chauafny among his players after the European Championship quarter-final elimination

Credit: Getty Images

World Cup 2019: USA spoil the party

Quarter-finals France-USA
Paris France)
Final result: 1-2

The World Cup at home has been on the minds of all FFF staff for years. It should be a party, a great promotion for women’s football, but above all a way to surf into a new frenzy to finally take a step forward. On this assignment, Noël Le Graët ended up snatching Corinne Deacon from Claremont to appoint her as coach. The starts were statistically successful but the French coach makes strong and symbolic decisions that mark the group, such as the captain’s armband being removed from Wendie Renard.

Despite a match that wasn’t always cheerful, France managed to win three group matches before knocking out Brazil in the round of 16. Thus, the long-awaited quarter-final against Team USA, the country that dominates women’s football, looms large at the Parc des Princes. The popular enthusiasm is real and the sporting disappointment is too. Despite their dominance late in the game, Blue didn’t look at all in control to oust the United States. Rapinoe offers a double bath and shower Parc des Princes (1-2).

Regret is eternal for the team that wanted to be crowned at home. Double Penalty: The group’s fears were put under the rug so they wouldn’t eventually spoil the party by going out in the open and delivering a major crisis for the tricolor squad between 2020 and 2022. Amandine Henry, Sarah Bouhaddi, Gaetan Thiene and Eugenie Le Somer would end up disappearing from the tricolor rosters.

  • What Corinne Deacon said about her : “It is a mathematical failure, we must not hide. We played the US tonight, anyway. I won’t look for excuses, it’s not that kind of home. But playing the United States in the quarter-finals, when you’re the host, you can’t say it’s a gift anyway“.
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