For France, the one constant at Canada 2014 has been change. Coach Gilles Eyquem has put his faith in the benefits of rest and rotation, with the result that every one of his outfield player has started at least one match. However, amid all this tinkering, and with star performers dropping in and out, one player has always been deemed indispensable.

Griedge Mbock Bathy is the only ingredient Eyquem cannot do without; the base on which his Bleuettes team is built. She has played all 390 minutes of her side's campaign thus far, and while other key figures might have reason for feeling fresher - Claire Lavogez, for example, has spent two hours resting her legs on the bench - the France captain wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

"I take it as a big compliment," she told FIFA.com. "I know the coach counts on me to carry the team through the matches and to be the leader on the field. It's a role I'm very happy to play. We talk a lot and he has told me that he trusts in me and believes that I'm a natural leader. For my part, I just want to show that he's right and help my team-mates to reach their goal.

"There are so many different characters in this team and it's my job to speak to everyone and bring them all together. Some are very outspoken, whereas you have others who are very quiet and shy. Then we have our dancers - I'm in that group with Aissatou [Tounkara] and Aminata [Diallo]. And, of course, you have some jokers, like Faustine Robert and Deborah Garcia. It's nice to have a good mix and the atmosphere in the team is very good. I just look to help keep the balance right and keep everyone going in the right direction."

It's going to be a very open game and, because of that, I think whoever defends best will reach the final.

Mbock Bathy on the semi-final against Germany

Her ability to cajole and guide undoubtedly helps, but there is another reason Mbock Bathy always plays: she is, quite simply, an excellent footballer. The centre-half has been one of her position's rising stars for some time, and even bucked the trend of midfielders and forwards hogging individual awards when she won the adidas Golden Ball at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.

It is certainly no wonder, with the Guingamp star bossing things at the back, that France's defensive record is Canada 2014's best, with just one goal conceded - and that in stoppage time, when they were already 5-0 up against Costa Rica.

"It's a very rewarding statistic and I hope it will continue, starting with Germany," said Mbock Bathy, looking ahead to Wednesday's eagerly anticipated semi-final in Montreal. "It's going to be a very open game and, because of that, I think whoever defends best will reach the final."

Having enjoyed an extra rest day and, unlike the French, progressed without the need for extra time and penalties, the in-forms Germans might be seen as narrow favourites. Yet it is Les Bleuettes who go into the match as European champions, having beaten their heavyweight opponents 2-1 at an identical stage of last year's triumphant continental campaign. So, could that give Eyquem's team a psychological edge?

"It definitely could be an advantage," said Mbock Bathy. "But I also recognise they'll want their revenge. That will give them extra motivation and they're a very good side as it is. But we certainly know from the EURO that we can beat them. Whichever way it goes, I'm sure it will be very close."

If it proves so tight that the Montreal crowd are again treated to the drama of a penalty shoot-out, no prizes for guessing who France will count on. Mbock Bathy's spot-kick in the quarter-final win over Korea Republic was one of the more emphatic and confident on show, and will have come as no surprise to those who saw her coolly convert in the same situation in the quarter-finals and final of the U-17 Women's World Cup. "I knew from that experience what's important," she said. "You need to stay focused, pick a side and just go for it."

This refusal to over-complicate is typical of France's captain. Whatever Germany throw at her, and whatever team her coach picks, bank on the no-nonsense Mbock Bathy proving as unflappable as ever.