Serious and diligent, the French women's team mastered Morocco (4-0) without being caught up in the emotional context of the meeting on Tuesday in Adelaide, making an appointment for an exciting quarter-final against Australia on Saturday. at the World.
Nothing disturbed the Blue, Tuesday evening in the cozy atmosphere of Hindmarsh Stadium . Nor the cold of South Australia, with a dozen degrees on the thermometer; nor the Moroccan opposition, much less eye-catching than feared; nor the emotion of a particular match for several players in the match, closely or remotely linked to Morocco.
With Kadidiatou Diani still impressive and involved on three goals (1 goal, 2 assists) and Eugénie Le Sommer credited with a double, France has already equaled its course in the 2019 edition at home, a World Cup which was over against the future American champions (2-1).
Saturday in Brisbane, another piece and a completely different atmosphere await coach Hervé Renard and his Tricolores against the Australians, co-organizers of the tournament and very ambitious.
The "Matildas" , who have just recovered their offensive star Sam Kerr from injury, will be supported by nearly 50,000 supporters, almost four times more than Tuesday's crowd in Adelaide in the smallest stadium of the tournament (13,500 people ).
Les Bleues know their future opponents very well, having faced them on July 14 at the end of their preparations, with a 1-0 defeat after a rather lackluster performance in Melbourne.
It will be necessary to restart the machine, very clearly, because the French have just chained two one-sided oppositions. This was the case against Panama (6-3) at the end of the group stage with a revamped team, then on Tuesday evening against a Moroccan selection that was outdated in all sectors and caught up in its inexperience at this level - the Atlas Lionesses . were playing their first World Cup -.
Hervé Renard, who put on the jacket again at half-time after having held the shock in a white shirt for 45 minutes, will be satisfied with such an unfolding, while France has long thought it necessary to face Germany in the eighth. He even allowed himself to bring in the last two outfield players not used until then, Aïssatou Tounkara and Naomie Feller.
The technician, appointed in the spring, is now one step away from fulfilling his first objective: to qualify Les Bleues for the semi-finals for the second time in their history after 2011. If Les Bleues pass the Australian obstacle, they will find themselves in the Final Four Colombia or England, reigning European champion.
On the Moroccan side, coach Reynald Pedros , former coach of six French women in Lyon, could not work miracles. But his World Cup was already successful before kick-off.
In this duel between French coaches, Hervé Renard was able, for his part, to master the emotional aspect of the meeting, he who keeps "wonderful memories" of the Moroccan men's selection led between 2016 and 2019.
A serenity transmitted to Sakina Karchaoui, who also lived a match apart because of her Moroccan origins. A decisive passer for Diani on the first goal (15th), the Paris SG player remained on the sidelines of her partners during the goal celebrations, without overdoing it.
Before the clash in Brisbane, the French attackers were full of confidence. Diani scored again after his hat-trick against Panama and Le Sommer scored twice (24th, 70th). Even midfielder Kenza Dali took part in the celebration by scoring after a superb movement (20th).
The defense cannot say the same after the reassuring performance of Elisa De Almeida, who had replaced Maëlle Lakrar, hit in the thigh. Against Australia, Les Bleues will need the return of their central defender.