Guingamp (France) (AFP)
Diminished by injuries and shaken by controversies, the French women's team has the opportunity to find a corner of blue sky on Friday (9 p.m.) in Guingamp on condition of defeating Austria, which would open the doors to the Euro-2022.
The media hubbub, maintained by Amandine Henry's critics against Corinne Deacon, resonated again Thursday during a press conference that brought together the two women at the Roudourou stadium, on the eve of the shock against the Austrians .
"With all the statements, I was obviously apprehensive, I wondered how the reunion was going to be," said the captain of the Blue, under the gaze of her coach sitting at the back of the room.
But we must try to "ignore" to focus on "the initial objective" which is to qualify, she continued.
For her first public speech since her intervention with the flamethrower at Canal +, the Lyonnaise explained that she had not had a one-to-one with the coach, criticized for her management considered brutal.
"I think these statements were more personal than collective," Deacon replied to the journalists present.
"Concerning me, when I see the players arriving at the Castle, nobody comes backing up", she insisted.
As expected, the two actresses of this chaotic soap opera were keen to remove the controversy to "focus" on the sporting issue, the slogan recalled by Deacon to his players Monday at the start of the rally in Clairefontaine.
Thursday morning, the president of the FFF Noël Le Graët made the same speech from their hotel in Saint-Brieuc.
"The message from the president was clear: it's the win tomorrow, we must have only that in our heads, the qualification and we will see later," said Henry.
The boss of French football, former president of the Guingamp club, has distilled for several days in the press his wish to see the internal quarrels end.
"There were small slippages on the part of some players, Corinne (Deacon) did not soften the atmosphere. But since then things have changed. She has selected those she thinks are the best," the 78-year-old leader told Telegram in particular.
- Five absent -
On the first leg at the end of October (0-0), the French women had come up against grouped and disciplined Austrians, while showing "incredible clumsiness" according to Le Graët and a flagrant lack of "risk-taking" d 'after Grace Geyoro.
Friday, "we will try to get into an offensive animation with a lot more permutations, movement, solutions to the bearer, anticipated the Parisian in an interview with AFP. We have all the qualities to do something, he We just have to put it in place and it will do it. We have to keep that confidence in ourselves. "
To force the Austrian lock, the Blue will not be able to count on the striker Eugenie Le Sommer, victim of a muscle injury.
They are also deprived of offensive midfielder Viviane Asseyi, injured during training on Tuesday in Clairetontaine, and of Everton striker Valérie Gauvin, forfeit even before the announcement of the Deacon list.
- Already qualify -
In defense, Marion Torrent (Montpellier) and Aïssatou Tounkara (Atlético Madrid) are missing, the first due to injury and the second because of a positive test for Covid-19.
Limped out against OL, the Parisian striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto is however well and truly there, like his club partners Perle Morroni, Kadidiatou Diani, Geyoro and the newcomer Sandy Baltimore.
Pauline Peyraud-Magnin will keep the French cage in the absence of Sarah Bouhaddi who, after her voluntary withdrawal from the selection this summer, mentioned a possible return to the blue jersey on condition of re-establishing dialogue with Deacon.
"If tomorrow I am European champion with her, I would be proud and happy. But there are a lot of things to be settled, with her and with her staff. I was attacked thinking that I wanted to make her fired from her post, it's false and unreal, "said Lyon goalkeeper to L'Equipe earlier this week.
Before thinking about the next Euro, it will already be necessary to qualify.
A victory would send the French to the tournament organized from July 6 to 31, 2022 in England, before their last qualifying match, Tuesday in Vannes against Kazakhstan.
A 0-0 would also put them in very good shape.
© 2020 AFP