Packed, it is weighed. Les Bleues did not wait more than the first minute of play to open the scoring against the Icelanders, before they converted a penalty at the very end of the match. This Monday, for their last match of the group stages, the players of Corinne Deacon were held in check 1-1, against Iceland. The France team will challenge the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the Women’s Euro on Saturday July 23 in Rotherham (9 p.m.). The Dutch 4-1 victory against Switzerland allows Les Bleues to finish second in Group C. Les Bleues having already qualified before the start of this match.

In Rotherham, where the thermometer showed 33°C, the good news however came from Malard, visibly not overwhelmed by the emotion of a quasi-surprise tenure. After just 43 seconds, the 22-year-old Lyonnaise had already shaken the net, scoring the fastest goal of this English Euro and becoming, in passing, the youngest French goalscorer in history in this competition. The right-hander gave an overview of her entry qualities: a subtle delivery behind the supporting leg for Clara Mateo, a run towards the axis and a shot from the left on a serve from the Paris FC player. Unstoppable and ultra-efficient.

Malard celebrated her achievement by drawing the letter “M” with her fingers and shouting “Marie” at the cameras, a tribute to Katoto, the star striker of Les Bleues who returned to France after being badly injured against Belgium four days earlier. The package of the center-forward of Paris SG had veiled the sky of the Blue, orphans of their regular scorer and destitute in the absence of a real lining.

The coach Corinne Deacon had blurred the tracks the day before in front of the press, suggesting that she would launch the second N.9 of her workforce, Ouleymata Sarr, rather than Malard. In the tricolor jersey, the latter had given satisfaction to each of her previous tenures, distinguishing herself with a double against Kazakhstan in October 2021, a goal against Finland in February and another against Cameroon in June. Replaced by Sarr (79th), Malard benefited from a long hug from Deacon, visibly delighted.

It may not be a lasting or definitive choice, but it allows the coach of Les Bleues to see more clearly before the quarter-final scheduled for Saturday against the Netherlands. His counterpart Mark Parsons, present in the stands of the New York stadium, could see that the French youth had talent, like Selma Bacha (21 years old) and Sandy Baltimore (22 years old), usual substitutes launched this time as incumbent.

He was also able to detect some flaws on the side of the French defense. Aïssatou Tounkara, still preferred to Griedge Mbock, failed on a raise (36th) and in the duel (77th), and her partner in the axis Wendie Renard was not always imperial. Goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin certainly gratified the public with a superb flight (56th), but her hazardous placement (41st, 59th) gave cold sweats to the few French supporters present.

France were unlucky on strikes from Baltimore (55th) and Grace Geyoro (67th), repelled by the Icelandic uprights, and they were denied two goals from Malard (68th) and Geyoro (88th) after using video assistance. And the VAR punished Les Bleues at the last second of the match, with a penalty conceded by Sarr on a trip. Peyraud-Magnin dived, in vain.