After an entry defeat against Ireland (1/4 – Scorer: Guusje Van Bolhuis ) and a complicated first half against Russia (2/3 – Scorers: Yohanna Lhopital and Noa Roque ), Les Bleues raised their heads with a full match against Poland (4/2 – Scorers: Inès Lardeur x2, Yohanna Lhopital and Gabrielle Verrier ) which allowed them to garner a maximum of FIH points and obtain their best ranking since several decades.
“ A good tournament of which we are proud and satisfied, ” exclaims Gaël Foulard, the coach of the French women’s team. “ A close-knit team, with a great state of mind and unfailing solidarity which allowed us to raise our level of play and compete with the best. We also finish the third best attack of the tournament (out of 8 teams), which is a very good signal!
“Of course, the French coach acknowledges” some disappointment over parts of games (especially the 1 st half against Russia) where we could have done better (what we are capable), we took too avoidable goals ”.
But the French women’s collective now has a competitive group, capable of competing with the best, “ a group that our opponents now take much more seriously. We have thus established many contacts to play test matches against teams ranked between 10 and 20, which is a sign that we have gained in competitiveness and respectability, ”adds the French technician.
Recall that Team France did not exist 5 years ago against Korea, then ranked 12 th World nation (1/0 defeat and no opportunity to score when the one-way match! ” The players are attentive, very diligent and very involved in our project. This is what now allows us to win important matches, like this victory against the Poles that we snatched with strength and conviction ”, rejoices Carole Thibaut-Teffri, manager of the France team.
The Bleues’ agenda is full for the coming months, with a first gathering extended to several young players in November; a reinforced program of physical preparation for the whole team throughout the winter and test matches planned against Germany.
In the summer of 2022, the French women’s team will participate in the qualifying tournament for the new 2023 European Cup of Nations formula. With the goal shared between the players and the staff to play in group A of the best 8. European nations.
“Against Ireland, we knew we were challenging, we gave it a go and we let go, which allowed us to have a full match by giving us many scoring opportunities. We realized that we could compete with a Top12 team, the reigning vice-world champion. What follows is a 1 st half time missed, and a defeat quite frustrating facing Russia very physical team and very aggressive on the field. Finally a good match against the Poles who lead 1/0 and which we then go up to finish 4/2. Our good collective spirit prevails and we manage all together the weak times while realizing the opportunities which are offered to us.”
“We do not often have the opportunity to confront ourselves at this level. On arrival, we are very happy that reward the 25 th spot in the world ranking. We have worked a lot to get there. This 25 th place is not an end in itself and our goal is to continue to play and perform, including against ranked teams.” Emma Ponthieu, captain of the Bleues