USA-France: Bleues cautious about reading too much into big win

Just like the USA tried not make too much of Saturday's 3-1 loss to France that snapped its 28-game unbeaten streak, the host Bleues downplayed the significance of the victory.

France owns three of the six wins over the USA since Jill Ellis was appointed head coach in May 2014, but its previous two victories got it nowhere.

In 2015, the French opened another World Cup year with a 2-0 win in Lorient, but they lost in the quarterfinals in Canada, falling to Germany in a shootout.

In 2017, the Bleues handed the USA its heaviest defeat in a decade with a 3-0 win at the SheBelieves Cup, but they then fell in the Euro 2017 quarterfinals to England, 1-0.

Saturday's win in Le Havre was probably the most important win since Corinne Diacre -- previously the men's coach at Clermont Foot, where she was 2015 Ligue 2 Coach of the Year -- was named French women's national team coach in 2017, but she said her team hasn't won anything yet.

"We had a beautiful week of training and it was validated by a win," she said. "It was a test match, but not an ordinary test match. There were moments where we suffered and for sure there are still imperfections. They will give us things to work on."

Probably the most encouraging aspect of the French game was the play of 23-year-old Kadidiatou Diani at center forward and 21-year-old Delphine Cascarino on the right wing.

"I am very happy for her," Diacre said of Diani. "This confirms her strong play with her club. Cascarino also had a great game."

The week was not without controversy.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto, 20, is the top scorer in the French women's league with 17 goals in 14 games for PSG, but Diacre singled her out for poor play in training, saying she had no chance of starting and she needed to reflect about what she wanted.

Katoto came off the bench and scored the third goal in Le Havre, and afterwards French star Wendie Renard backed Katoto, saying Diacre should have "washed her dirty laundry" with Katoto between themselves and not in the press. Diani, Katoto's club teammate, said some happy medium needed to be found to give Katoto confidence.

Diacre, who has not been afraid to make changes in the French team, replacing Renard with Amandine Henry as captain last year, did not seem to be backing down. Asked how Katoto played, Diacre said she should have scored on the first ball she received after coming on as a sub and described her game as satisfactory. "Given her potential," she said, "she can do more."
1 comment about "USA-France: Bleues cautious about reading too much into big win".
  1. R2 Dad, January 22, 2019 at 1:13 a.m.

    This coach means business. France will make it to the Final because of her approach, attitude and conviction.

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