Because this is a Women’s World Cup year, I have decided to countdown to the tournament by providing a short soccer/fitness related preview of each of the 24 participating nations. In this instalment, I will look at France, who are making their third appearance at the Women’s World Cup. The French have been drawn in Group F, along with Colombia, England, and Mexico. They will play their first match against England on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015.
The French team has come out of relative obscurity (in their first appearance at the Women’s World Cup, in 2003, they failed to advance past the group stage) to become one of the strongest teams in the world and a possible contender to win the title. As is the case in some other European countries, the emergence of the French National Women’s Team has occurred simultaneously with a more favourable opinion about Women’s soccer in the country. In the past 10 years, France has been victorious at the 2012 Women’s U17 World Cup in Azerbaijan, won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and also finished 3rd in the 2014 Women’s U20 World Cup in Canada. They breezed through qualification, winning all 10 of their matches while scoring 54 goals and conceding just 3.
Among the strengths of the present France team is its attack, which is statistically the best in Europe. In qualification, France scored more total goals (54) than any other European country, and they also had the top European goal scorer (Gaetane Thiney, 13 goals), and the assists leader (Louisa Necib, 13 assists). They will be favourites to win their group and if they can sustain the strong offence and equally good defence, they could contend for the trophy this year. We will have to wait and see what happens in 1 month’s time.
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