France kicked off their 2023 Women’s World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against Jamaica in the Group E opener. Hervé Renard has failed to win his first competitive game since replacing Corinne Diacre as head of Les Bleues last March. The former Saudi Arabia manager opted for a 4-4-2 formation with Kadidiatou Diani and veteran striker Eugénie Le Sommer up front. Les Bleues initially struggled to match the Reggae Girlz’s physicality, with Amel Majri and company committing too many fouls.
France’s shortcomings were also on a technical level. Les Bleues lost possession all too easily through unforced errors, misplaced passes, over-powered crosses or avoidable offsides. Fortunately, Jamaica failed to make it count as captain Wendie Renard proved an ever-reliable rock at the back. Renard’s team eventually grew into the game before half-time. The industrious Clara Matéo found Diani whose right-footed low shot was thwarted by Jamaican goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer. The former PSG forward went close to wrong-foot Spencer with a deflected half-volley.
France went up a gear on the second half, tightening their grip in proceedings but ultimately failing to find the back of the net. Renard rang the changes with Matéo and Majri trading places with Kenda Dali and Vicky Becho. The best opportunities for France to break the deadlock fell to Diani, whose header went just wide. As the Sydney Football Stadium’s pitch became rain-soaked, France kept being comfortable at keeping Jamaica at bay, but that was the least they could do.
Eventually, France were let down by their inability to find the cracks in a tight-knit but straightforward defensive set-up as well as by their wastefulness in Jamaica’s penalty box. Les Bleues only logged five shots on target against the Reggae Girlz. Diani was close to a 90th minute game-winner but her header found the bar and then the right post. Although Jamaica clinched their first ever World Cup point, they will have to play their next game against Panama without captain Khadija Shaw, who sent off in injury time. As for France, they will need to massively step up against Brazil next Saturday.
France players ratings
Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, 5
Maëlle Lakrar, 4
Wendie Renard, 6 – A captain’s performance from the veteran centre-back, making great use of her positional play and aerial ability.
Estelle Cascarino, 5
Sakina Karchaoui, 4
Clara Matéo, 6 – Despite an early booking after snuffing out a Jamaican counter-attack, the Paris FC forward worked tirelessly and massively helped France when going forward with her vision of the game and passing quality. She deserved to remain on pitch longer than an hour, but Hervé Renard thought differently.
Grace Geyoro, 5
Sandie Toletti, 5
Amel Majri, 4
Kadidiatou Diani, 5
Eugénie Le Sommer, 3 – No dice from France’s all-time record goalscorer. She was deprived of clear goal-scoring opportunities but she struggled to make an impact from her hold-up play.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval