against Morocco “Blues” do not want to become the new victims of a slightly crazy WC

In a huge World Cup where the favorites are digested like ordinary appetizers – Germany, Brazil, Canada or the United States, usually imagining themselves as the main course, the Blues have no intention of being on the menu for Moroccan footballers.

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On Tuesday, August 8 at the Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, Australia, a rustic venue reminiscent of England’s lower divisions and featuring the tournament’s most modest capacity (around 13,500 seats), France’s women’s soccer team knows it must avoid arrogance. “It is important to respect the opponent and what the round of 16 is. When we achieve this, it means that we have many qualities…”, insists Hervé Renard. Their opponents, the Moroccans, proved it by turning heads after their opening (6-0 against the Germans) with two wins against South Korea and Colombia.

The French coach has mastered the subject as he has often been on the underdogs’ bench during his long career, such as his surprise triumph with Zambia at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations or his impressive win with Saudi Arabia against eventual world champions Argentina. in Qatar in November 2022. So the risk of decompression when we swap the announced ultra-tight clash against the double German champions at the last minute for a game on paper for the Blues to achieve against Moroccan newbies – is minimised.

“In competition, it’s important to play every match as if it could be your last and make sure it’s not. attacking midfielder Kenza Dali, who got the message. It is up to us not to fall into the trap of thinking that our journey is easier than others. »

“Morocco is not there by chance”

Before this meeting, all the French players were in the mood. “We must not take the Moroccan women lightly. They lost 6-0 in the first match and did not give up.”, adds Lea Le Garrec. Resting against Panama, defender Sakina Karchaoui, whose parents were born in Morocco, warns her teammates: “It will not be an easy match, Morocco is not there by chance. This world championship is a bit crazy, we have been warned. »

France’s expanded squad exercised this caution, monitoring Morocco in the first round in the same way as the other teams in Group H (potential opponents in eighth place), and even “a long time ago”, according to Fox. Once the poster was known, video analysts entered the scene to scrutinize the opponent’s game. “They gave us the keys to this match, I won’t reveal them”laughs Kenza Dali.

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Georgie Collins

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