They will make their debut on Sunday against Italy. Quarter-finalists of the last World Cup, organized in France in 2019, Corinne Deacon’s Bleues aim to (finally) go beyond the quarter-finals stage and dream of winning a first international title this summer, during the Women’s Euro organized in England (from July 6 to 31). The France team will begin its continental journey in Group D, made up of Belgium, Iceland and Italy. Former coach of the Bleues and consultant of The chain L’Équipe for the competition, Olivier Echouafni delivers his analysis to the Point.

Since April 2021 and a defeat against the United States, the France team has had a series of 14 consecutive successes. Les Bleues even regained third place in the Fifa rankings in early March. “This France team has the arguments to worry any selection. However, 16 teams are on the starting line and the tournament promises to be more open than ever. “The level gap has narrowed considerably between the different selections and the competition will prove to be particularly strong”, confirms the consultant. “Where Les Bleues still need to improve is mentally. From the moment there has been no victory mark or trophy in this France team, there are bound to be doubts that persist. We will therefore have to manage to go above and be able to rely on players who have managed to win club titles. »

On May 30, Corinne Deacon announced the list of 23 players called up to compete in the competition. Whether for non-sporting reasons or performance issues, the coach has decided to no longer rely on certain players. Euro 2022 will take place in particular without Lyonnaises Eugénie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry. If Olivier Echouafni refused to comment on these absences, he, on the other hand, underlined the notion of group and locker room balance.

“It’s always hard to give your opinion on the roster when you’re not in the group, and I’m in a good position to know that. You have to find the right balance to rely on both experienced players and players with high potential: in this case, it is. This French team has the potential to go all the way, because it is also made up of a new generation who have already won titles with the national team among young people, during European championships but also world championships. . There are only 11 players left among those present at the 2019 World Cup. It is certainly by relying on these fresh and lively forces that Les Bleues will be able to seek a title. »

Expected to shine the tricolor attack during the Euro, the center forward of Paris Saint-Germain Marie-Antoinette Katoto is preparing to play her first major international competition with the A team. Olivier Echouafni, her former coach at Paris Saint-Germain, confesses his pride in seeing his ex-player evolve at this level. “Marie is slowly acquiring additional stripes. She is a great player, who will perhaps become the star of the Euro. She has a potential that few players have. It has been three consecutive seasons that she has been the top scorer in the French championship. From now on, it is even decisive in important moments in club as in selection. It will become an essential player for this French team, ”he assures.

Now a consultant for The L’Équipe channel, the new coach of US Quevilly-Rouen also experienced a Euro at the head of Les Bleues. Coach of the French women’s team at Euro 2017, Olivier Echouafni remembers a bitter experience with “a lot of disappointments and frustrations”. Landed ten months earlier on the bench, the tactician had nevertheless managed to win the SheBelieves Cup in the United States by taming in particular the American host in the final in Washington.

However, despite its strong ambitions for the 2017 European Championship disputed in the Netherlands, France was eliminated from the Euro by England in the quarter-finals. “They had me used to interesting things and they failed to apply them during this competition. On top of that, we didn’t have all our forces present. In the quarter-finals, it didn’t go through and our journey unfortunately ended there, ”he regrets. “Five years later, I can’t wait to see where this France team is. In club, it works rather well with Olympique Lyonnais, European champion, and Paris Saint-Germain, always present at the high level. In addition, many players have progressed and matured. And this year the former coach promises “necessarily surprises”.

“In 2017, we expected to see Germany, we thought we were there too and, in the end, the host country won the competition. Logically, England will be one of the expected teams. Afterwards, we will certainly find Germany, who regularly find themselves in the last four. Among the other teams, France and Spain, which are progressing very quickly. The Spaniards will go into the professional league, like in Italy. They regularly arrive through Barcelona to be in the Champions League final, with a strong collective. These teams are among the favourites. Do not forget either that the Netherlands are holders of the title and will have their say, “concludes the specialist.