FIVE THINGS TO KNOW: FranceHydrated by BioSteel
Following a 1-1 draw against Sweden on April 10 in Stockholm, the U.S. Women’s National Team will quickly reset to take on France, the third-ranked team in the FIFA World Rankings. The match will be played on Tuesday, April 13 in Le Havre at Stade Océane and will kick off at 3 p.m. ET/9 p.m. local on ESPN2. With its collective and individual talents, France has proven to be one of the most formidable foes for the United States over the past decade.
Here are Five Things to Know about Les .
FRANCE SET TO FACE USWNT IN FAMILIAR VENUE
Head coach Corrine has assembled a 25-player roster for this FIFA window, which features players with an array of experience on the international level. The most-capped player by far on this roster is forward Eugenie Le Sommer, who has 174 caps and is also the leading scorer on the roster with 86 international goals. Fellow forward Kadidiatou Diani has 63 caps and 13 goals while Valerie Gauvin (16), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (10) and Viviane (10) also bring double-digit goals to the French attack. While the majority of the roster plays for clubs in France – including six players from league-leaders Paris Saint-Germain –six do ply their trade elsewhere in Europe, with players competing in England, Germany and Spain.
FRANCE WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Solène Durand (Guingamp), Pauline -Magnin (Atletico Madrid, ESP), Constance (Le Havre)
DEFENDERS (9): Estelle (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Élisa de Almeida (Montpellier HSC), Océane Deslandes (Stade de Reims), Grace Kazadi (Atletico Madrid, ESP), Perle Morroni (Paris Saint-Germain), Ève (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Julie Thibaud (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Marion Torrent (Montpellier HSC), Aïssatou Tounkara (Atletico Madrid, ESP)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kenzi Dali (West Ham United FC, ENG), Grace Geyoro (Paris Saint-Germain), Inès Jauréna (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Oriane Jean-François (Paris FC), Léa Khelifi (Paris Saint-Germain), Ella Palis (FC Girondins de Bordeaux)
FORWARDS (7): Viviane (FC Bayern Munich), Sandy Baltimore (Paris Saint-Germain), Kadidiatou Diani (Paris Saint-Germain), Louise Fleury (Guingamp), Valérie Gauvin (Everton), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (Paris Saint-Germain), Eugénie le Sommer (Olympique Lyonnais)
France will be without several of their top players due to a COVID outbreak at Olympique Lyonnais, with Wendie Renard, Mbock, Sakina , Amandine Henry, Amel and Delphine all ruled out for this FIFA window.
Renard, who scored against the USA in the epic quarterfinal clash between the nations at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, was ranked No. 11 in the world according to the recently released ESPN FC Player Rankings (of which the USA’s Samantha Mewis was ranked No. 1 overall), while Henry (#16), Delphine (#21) and (#32) were also recognized in the Top 50.
With the aforementioned players absent, only five players who played against the USA in the World Cup are on France roster, but four of them are very impactful and dynamic attackers: Diani, Gauvin, Le Sommer and , along with defender Marion Torrent. Le Sommer came in at #20 in the ESPN FC rankings, with Diani ranked #36. Marie-Antoinette Katoto, they dynamic PSG attacker who was not named to roster for the 2019 World Cup is ranked No. 19 according to the panel of analysts.
LAST TIME OUT
France opened the April FIFA window with a 3-1 victory over England on April 9 in Caen, France. Les Bleues got goals from Sandy Baltimore (32nd minute) and Viviane (63rd) before England pulled a goal back via a penalty kick in the 79th. Kirby’s penalty was the first goal France had conceded in 815 minutes dating back to a Lieke Martens goal for the Netherlands on March 10, 2020.
However, France responded and put the game away in the 82nd minute with a goal from Katoto. Diani tallied two assists for France in the win.
Despite the two-goal victory, the match was evenly played. England held a 61% advantage in possession and outshot France, 18-17 overall, while France had an 8-6 edge in shots on target.
WE’VE GOT HISTORY
The April 13 matchup will be the 25th meeting all-time between the USA and France. The USA is 18-3-3 all-time vs. France, but the most recent 10 games between the teams dating back to 2014 have seen the USA compile a 5-2-3 record. In fact, the last five meetings have the teams knotted at 2-2-1 with France outscoring the USA 8-5 over that five-game stretch.The most recent meeting between the USA and France came in the quarterfinal of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a historic victory in front of a sold-out crowd at Parc des Princes in Paris that is widely hailed as one of the most epic Women’s World Cup matches ever. Megan Rapinoe scored twice and Renard scored a late header, but the Americans expertly salted the game away to advance to the semifinal while France was knocked out of the tournament, and the Olympics, on home soil. Thirteen of the 14 U.S. players who played vs. France in the World Cup match in Paris are on this roster, with only the injured Tobin Heath missing.
The win in the World Cup also avenged the USA’s loss 3-1 to France on January 19, 2019, which was the last loss for the USA. That match was played in Le Havre at Stade Océane, the venue for the April 13 meeting between the teams. Since then, the USWNT is unbeaten in its last 38 matches. The U.S. also played at Stade Océane for its third match of group play in June of 2019 at the World Cup, a 2-0 win against Sweden.
FORMIDABLE FORCE AT HOME
Since the loss to the USA at Parc des Princes, France has gone on a 16-game unbeaten streak, outscoring the opposition 62-4 during that stretch and winning its last five matches overall.
Les have been especially successful on home soil during that stretch, going 11-0-1 at home since the loss to the USA in Paris. In fact, since the start of 2016, France has only lost twice on home soil – a 2019 defeat against Germany in Laval and the World Cup loss to the USA in Paris –compiling a record of 42-2-4 at home over that span.