FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup

Le Sommer makes another fast start  

Eugenie Le Sommer of France celebrates after scoring
© Getty Images
  • Eugenie Le Sommer has scored in France’s opening match at the last five major tournaments
  • Team-mate Griedge Mbock Bathy not surprised to see her on the scoresheet
  • Le Sommer hungry for more

By Emma Hingant with France

The hosts shook off any first-night nerves at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ in the best possible way, scoring four goals without reply against a Korea Republic side noted for their solidity at the back. It was a perfect start for a team who have made no secret of their desire to lift the Trophy.

Les Bleues did not take long to unwind and ensure themselves a stress-free four days to prepare for their next outing against Norway, breaching the Korean defence nine minutes in, the fastest goal ever scored in a Women’s World Cup opening match.

To no one’s great surprise it came from Eugenie Le Sommer, who now has 75 goals and counting in 160 appearances for her country. Though the forward has had her injury problems of late and last found the back of the net in the win over Japan in April, she rarely fails her country on the big occasion.

No surprise

“You know Eugenie’s a great player and you expect her to show up in matches like this, the big matches,” said central defender Griedge Mbock Bathy, who thought she had doubled Les Bleues’ lead only for VAR to rule her goal out for offside. “In a competition like the World Cup, you expect to see her perform at that level.”

Not for the first time, the Olympique Lyonnais striker did not disappoint, scoring in France’s opening match for the fifth major tournament in a row. The run began against Russia at UEFA Women’s EURO 2013 and continued against England at the Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, Colombia at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016, Iceland at Women’s EURO 2017, and now Korea Republic at France 2019 on Friday.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said an admiring Jessica Houara-d'Hommeaux, a former France and l'OL team-mate of the No9 and now a TV pundit with Canal Plus. “It just shows how consistent she is, especially her mental quality because we know how difficult it can be to make your return a tournament, even more so when it’s at home. She’s a formidable goalscorer.”

Goals and more besides

As for Le Sommer herself, she modestly played down her fine record. “It’s just a goal, no big deal,” she said, preferring to look at the bigger picture instead. “I’ve scored in tournaments before and we’ve gone out in the quarter-finals. So I’m hoping this time that we’ll have more luck and go further.”

With six more games potentially to come for Les Bleues at France 2019, Le Sommer could soon overtake France’s all-time leading scorer Marinette Pichon, who amassed 81 goals on international duty. The No9 needs six more to match her, a target that is well within the reach of this born finisher.

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