The road to Canada
It would not be an exaggeration to say that France strolled through their qualifying campaign while securing a third appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, winning all ten of their Group 7 encounters, scoring 54 goals and conceding just three.
Although the expansion from 16 to 24 participants ahead of Canada 2015 may well have worked in their favour, there is still no doubting Les Bleues’ growing level of experience and talent.
Strengths and style
Boasting a strike force that includes the top scorer (Gaetane Thiney, 13 goals) and the assists' leader (Louisa Necib, 13 assists) from the European qualifiers, as well as a steely defence marshalled by Laura Georges and the influential Wendie Renard, France are no longer simply regarded as a team capable of upsetting the favourites – they are now major contenders themselves.
Further evidence for this elevated status was provided in October 2014, when they achieved their first-ever victory over two-time world champions Germany with a 2-0 triumph in Offenbach.
The key players from the side that reached the semi-finals of both the 2011 Women’s World Cup and the 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament have now matured, safe in the knowledge that the baton can be handed on to young starlets such as Griedge Mbock-Bathy, Claire Lavogez and Sandie Toletti.
These promising players earned their spurs at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2012, where the French emerged victorious, and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2014, where they finished third.
Philippe Bergeroo took over from Bruno Bini in September 2013. A former French international goalkeeper and UEFA EURO 1984 winner, he had previously coached Paris Saint-Germain, Rennes, and the French men’s U-17 side, and was part of Aime Jacquet’s backroom staff during France 1998. This is the first time in his career that he has been in charge of a women’s team.
FIFA Women's World Cup record
- Canada 2015 will represent the third time that France have appeared on the World Cup stage
- Les Bleues’ best performance came at Germany 2011, where they finished fourth
What they said
“The memory of the 2011 World Cup is still fresh in our minds – it was an intense and emotional experience. Hopefully, we can get a taste of that again in June, and who knows, maybe even win the whole thing,” Gaetane Thiney, France forward