- Kadidiatou Diani’s versatility a huge asset for France
- Forward had a big hand in her side’s win over Brazil
- France coach Corinne Diacre: “She's doing everything but score”
By Emma Hingant with France
Kadidiatou Diani was simply everywhere in the hosts’ Round of 16 defeat of Brazil at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ on Sunday. Though forced to switch positions on a number of occasions, she never let her workrate drop and caught the eye with her tireless efforts.
The indefatigable France No11 was making her third start in four matches at the competition and is fast becoming an undisputed first choice. Her performance on Sunday was undoubtedly her most complete to date. “You might be right,” she said after the hosts had secured their passage to the last eight. “I just keep trying to get better and to do my very best in every game.”
Just happy to help
That was plain for all to see on Sunday, when she showcased her amazing versatility once more. In the group phase the Paris Saint-Germain player was an attacking spearhead against Korea Republic and operated out on the right against Norway and Nigeria, looking equally at ease in both positions.
“I don’t play out on the left much but if the coach puts me there, I’d do all that I can to help the team out as best I could,” said Diani before the start of the competition. “I don’t have any great preference about where I play.”
On Sunday, the 24-year-old popped up in no fewer than three different positions. After starting up front alongside Valerie Gauvin, Diani dropped out to her favoured flank when Gaetane Thiney came on. Within ten minutes she was then playing a lone role in attack when Gauvin went off, having previously set up her strike partner for France’s opener after a surging run down the right.
A brace against USA
Though Diani does not see any difficulty in switching systems, France coach Corinne Diacre is only too happy to have a player like her in the Bleues ranks.
“I just use her where I need to for the team," Diacre said. "She can play in every attacking position, as she’s already shown, even on the left. She’s a very valuable player to have around and I think the only thing she needs to do to keep being effective is to score.”
She did that twice over in a friendly against potential quarter-final opponents USA in Le Havre in January. Playing as a lone striker on that occasion, her two goals helped France claim a notable 3-1 win. If the reigning world champions beat Spain on Monday, they will pose a major threat to France’s hopes of lifting the Trophy. But with the versatile Diani in their ranks, that is a threat the hosts will believe they can overcome.