- Valerie Gauvin didn't start France's opening match due to disciplinary reasons
- Against Norway she scored and was named Player of the Match
- The 23-year-old talks about her steely determination
By Emma Hingant with France
“I’ve always been mentally strong, since I was little,” said Valerie Gauvin, a scorer and Player of the Match in France’s 2-1 defeat of Norway on Wednesday, in reference to what she has been through with her national team in the last few days.
The Reunion Island-born forward was dropped for Les Bleues’ opening match of France 2019, a 4-0 defeat of Korea Republic, on account of having turned up late on two occasions. Coach Corinne Diacre’s decision came as a major setback for a player who felt she had done enough to nail down a starting place after impressing in her side’s preparations, having scored a brace against Uruguay and a goal each against Japan, Denmark and China PR. The coach’s decision to teach her young striker a lesson seems to have paid off, however.
“I know that I brought it all on myself,” Gauvin acknowledged at the press conference that followed her side’s defeat of the Scandinavians. “I’ve not had it easy, and when things get tough my mother and my family are there to tell me that you can’t give up, whatever life throws at you. There are times when it’s really hard, but I’m mentally strong.”
On Wednesday, that mental strength brought her – on her first FIFA Women’s World Cup™ start – an 11th goal in 21 internationals, all of them coming under the guidance of a coach who clearly knows how to use her wisely. The Montpellier player, who turned 23 on 1 June, knows that she still has it all to prove.
“It’s up to me to show, whether it’s at training or in matches, that I’m here and giving my all," she said. "I have to take as many chances as I can in front of goal because I’m a No9 and that’s what’s expected of me.”
“I think she wanted to show what she can bring to the team,” said Diacre. “It’s good, but she can’t stop there.”
Judging by her performance at the Stade de Nice and the way she went about her business in general, Gauvin has shown that she has no intention of doing that.