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Thiney aiming to make most of recall

Gaetane Thiney of France celebrates at the end of the FIFA Womens's World Cup round of 16 match between France and Korea
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  • Corinne Diacre has called up Gaetane Thiney for the first time since taking over as coach
  • 32-year-old is hoping to shine at the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
  • Midfielder is determined to make her experience count for Les Bleues

On Monday, France coach Corinne Diacre announced the 23-player squad that will defend the SheBelieves Cup in the USA between 1-7 March.

The list featured 32-year-old midfielder Gaetane Thiney, who has not played for Les Bleues since their disappointing showing at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 but has been working hard on a recall, all while keeping her thoughts very much to herself.

Destination France 2019
“I decided to keep quiet about the France team in the last few months. I thought it was the best thing to do,” Thiney told from the city of Columbus, where Les Bleues will play their opening match of the friendly tournament against England on 1 March.

France’s SheBelieves Cup schedule

  • England-France (1 March)
  • USA-France (4 March)
  • France-Germany (7 March)

The Paris FC player broke her silence in an interview published on her club’s official website in January, saying: “The France team is an amazing thing. There’s a World Cup coming up on home soil and I’m going to do all I can not just to be there but to perform well as well.”

Experience and character
That message was picked up loud and clear by the Tricolore coach, who said on taking over at the end of last August that she was keen to revamp the team while also leaving the door open to everyone, a promise she fulfilled by bringing Thiney back into the fold.

Aside from Thiney’s excellent first half of the season, during which she scored nine goals and served up six assists, what other factors might have led to Diacre recalling her? “That’s a question you’ll have to ask her,” said Thiney, who worked under the coach when she was an assistant to Bruno Bini during his spell as Bleues boss between 2007 and 2013.

“One thing I’ve definitely got is experience,” said the second-most capped player in the squad, currently on 141 appearances behind only Laura Georges (186). “It’s a very young squad and it needs a few players who’ve been there at major tournaments. It’s always a plus to have experienced players in a team, whether it’s me or someone else.”

Thiney’s France career

  • 141 caps (55 goals)
  • Two FIFA Women’s World Cup appearances (2011, 2015)
  • One Women’s Olympic Football Tournament appearance (2012)
  • Three UEFA Women’s EURO appearances (2009, 2013, 2017)

Thiney also has lots of character and passion to offer her country, having turned down offers from some big teams to stay at Paris FC, the club she has played for since 2008. She has also needed those qualities to fend off the criticism that came her way after missing a clear-cut extra-time chance to win France’s quarter-final against Germany at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.

“That’s not what stands out for me from that match,” said Thiney, who picked herself up from that miss to take and score France’s first penalty in the resulting shootout. “What does stand out is that I put it behind me to convert the penalty.

“That competition left a mark and it led to some negative things for me in the France team,” she added. “But I’ve put that behind me now and I’m only taking positives from it. I’ve grown since then and I’ve really developed as a person. I’m drawing on that to become even stronger and I hope I get the chance to show that.”

Unfazed and determined with it, Thiney wants to enjoy her return to the national fold and end her superb international career on a high, but without setting herself too many goals. “If I score a hat-trick in the World Cup Final, then I’ll definitely carry on until the Olympics (laughs). Seriously, though, I try not to look ahead so much these days because life is always full of surprises. I’m just going to make the most of this experience and see what happens.”

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