World Cup 2022: Tunisia wins over sluggish Blues

The qualification being acquired, this last meeting of the group stage between France and Tunisia, this Wednesday, November 30, fueled many discussions in the great game of “who would do what”. With the understanding that a third game is then used to rotate the workforce, it was a question of who would get on the carousel, with a small chance of catching the pompom. That is to say to sit at the very end of the bench of substitutes in the future.

Deschamps turns everything upside down

But at kick-off, the main surprise came from the extent of the change proposed by Didier Deschamps: nine entrants, with some truly unpredictable like Randal Kolo Muani at the forefront of the attack, and Axel Disasi for a first start to the right of the defense in place of Benjamin Pavard. In 2014 in Brazil and in 2018 in Russia, the boss of the Blues was content to launch six new players on the meadow. At a press conference the day before, the coach had warned: “In no case should this third match be overused. The dynamic is important internally. » A way to motivate future fresh troops.

Except that there, it was a completely different team from France which found itself asked not to damage the beautiful work woven until then by the previous one. The only ones to put the blue heater on, Raphaël Varane, lacking rhythm after his injury, and Aurélien Tchouaméni, in other words barely the base of the usual spine of the Blues. Deschamps turns it all upside down, here is an additional novelty.

Few alternatives

More than a third match, an experimental match? The best way to concern absolutely everyone or almost, to further perfect group life? The risk of the formula is to reveal only a draft that is difficult to judge. And in fact, on the meadow, the case resulted in a very painful first half, with a team necessarily without great benchmarks but also individuals with very measured commitment. Tunisia at least showed more intensity, if not much more skill. The draw at the break is not only on the scoreboard, only the permanent fear inspired by a trembling French team allowing them to escape boredom.

The second half started on the same basis, and what had to happen happened, after a loss of ball, the blue defense letting itself be pierced (1-0, goal by Wahbi Khazri). The sequel was more decent with the entry of a few executives to avoid a correction, but without the Blues managing to equalize, a goal from Antoine Griezmann in extremis being finally refused for offside.

What lesson can we draw from such a meeting? That the Blues do not have a remarkable bench depth, only among the substitutes the defender Ibrahima Konaté having proved convincing.

Can’t wait for Sunday? It is indeed the feeling that emerged after such a spectacle. The Blues are done with their first round, and almost everyone (except third goalkeeper Alphonse Areola) has come for a lap. It wasn’t for the best.



The qualified Blues, a good atmosphere

Everything is fine. It is said in all tones on the side of the Blues in Qatar, and even better since the victory against Denmark on Saturday November 26 (2-1), synonymous with qualification for the round of 16 of the World Cup. As in 2014 in Brazil and in 2018 in Russia, Didier Deschamps will therefore be able to manage the last group meeting against Tunisia, Wednesday, November 30. A luxury and a relief, as the headwinds seemed to be blowing on this French team before the start of the competition.

The defections of each other and the concerns that resulted from them are visibly forgotten. The defense, destabilized by Presnel Kimpembe’s last-minute package and Lucas Hernandez’s entry injury? It still seems perfectible, but offers reasons for satisfaction: the return of Raphaël Varane as a solid vice-captain, his association in central defense with a remarkable Dayot Upamecano, and a Jules Koundé who advantageously replaces an overly floating Benjamin Pavard.

A remarkable offensive animation

The midfielder completely redesigned because of the packages of the cadors Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté? Aurélien Tchouaméni in a strictly defined role in withdrawal, Adrien Rabiot allowed him to project himself forward, and Antoine Griezmann, with a staggering volume of play and an ease in moving from strategist with a baton to starving defender, define an effective trio, able to remove all fears.

As for the offensive animation in the absence of the golden ball Karim Benzema, it works perhaps more than ever. Olivier Giroud knows his pivotal role by heart, even if, after his double against Australia, he played a more sluggish score against Denmark. Ousmane Dembélé, once rather disappointing in the blue jersey, turns out to be twirling on his right wing, without sacrificing his defensive withdrawal, a welcome novelty. And Kylian Mbappé remains Kylian Mbappé, down for half time against Denmark, before blasting the opponent with two of his usual strokes of genius. “Kylian is not going to speak too much, it’s not his thing, but what he does is a locomotive”, commented Didier Deschamps after the duel against the Scandinavians.

“A collective force emerges”

A leader in his own way and guys in unison: the coach of the Blues perhaps has a collective built for adventure, singular but efficient. Who “lives well” as the well-verified cliché formula wants. “We are not going to ignite but it is very good what we are doing so farDidier Deschamps still congratulated himself. There is a collective strength that emerges outside, and on the ground it can also be seen. We’ll need that for what lies ahead. »

” That “it’s a team that looks as good in its cleats as Saturday night reacted Antoine Griezmann, post-match Zébulon, big smile and joker by bringing out his “Long live France, long live the Republic!” » of 2018 before the final against Croatia. They are also players who can linger with their families in the stands after the match, when the entourage yesterday was not so early invited to the Blues. Finally, it’s a group that quickly turned the page of pre-competition misfortunes to fully project themselves there, with their new but well-established balances. Ousmane Dembélé atmosphere as always, Olivier Giroud can continue his quest for a goalscoring record, Antoine Griezmann thrive in everything and Kylian Mbappé also play the saviors of the fatherland, which suits him perfectly. And the young novices, in all this, are delighted to write their own story.

The group is moving forward with confidence when, on the contrary, it withered away as the Euros progressed in 2021. Which does not mean that it will go beyond the stage of the round of 16, end of the game (against Switzerland ) disappointing from the previous big meeting of the Blues. But, clearly, something is taking shape. “This group is strong, solid, and wants to do great things”, still assures Didier Deschamps. After two games and many concerns, who would not have signed to be there?



The Blues first qualified in the round of 16

Always, if possible, maintain good habits. For the third consecutive time, Didier Deschamps can be satisfied with a qualification in the round of 16 of the World Cup after the first two games of the competition. His Blues did the job on Saturday November 26 by beating Denmark (2-1), imitating their elders from 2014 and 2018.

They had been brilliant in 2014 in Brazil, going 3-0 in Honduras, and battering the Swiss 5-2. The adventure ended in the quarter-finals against Germany (1-0). They had provided the essentials in 2018 in Russia, with a laborious 2-1 against Australia and a minimum 1-0 against Peru. And the story ended on top of the world. What continuation can tell the double evolution of the Blues of Qatar, convincing vis-a-vis Australia (4-1), but serene intermittently vis-a-vis the Scandinavians?

Satisfaction in defense and midfield

It is not impossible that the Blues have in any case found a typical team. The newcomers from the start, Raphaël Varane back from injury and Jules Koundé compensating for the defensive flaws of Benjamin Pavard, have removed doubts about the form of one and the placement of the other. Raphaël Varane especially entered the competition perfectly, and it is a comfort as the Blues have so far lost many soldiers let down by their physique.

Throughout the first half, this formation in any case proved to be in place, well in its fragile certainties. Rather dominating, the Blues multiplied the chances, without however ever finding the net. But after 45 minutes, they seemed to dominate their subject, with real satisfaction on the side of Ousmane Dembélé, twirling on his right wing without neglecting his defensive folds, and Antoine Griezmann, in the oven and at the mill like he often knows how to do it, but less prominent lately.

World Cup 2022: Olivier Giroud, the mark of the copy

A very united group

The general feeling of a quiet strength, finally lacked only the validation of the score, stubbornly blocked at 0-0. The downside could also come from Kylian Mbappé, a tone below compared to the overall score. Except that a sleeping Kylian can always wake up. It is characteristic of giant players. The second half will therefore be that of his double, including a spectacular second goal from the thigh on a cross from Antoine Griezmann. Between these two goals, however, the Blues floated a little, at least enough to let the character of the Danes express themselves, the Scandinavians offering themselves the luxury of returning to the score on their first shot – a whim – on target.

This second half, less controlled, somewhat limits the enthusiasm. But if the Blues had a number of questions about the midfielder, deprived of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, the two performances performed by the triplet Antoine Griezmann, Adrien Rabiot and Aurélien Tchouameni, the last two discovering the World Cup for the first times, give rather satisfaction.

The team, above all, displays a beautiful unity and a communicative spirit. Welded, perhaps, by his misfortunes (the defections), and finding this balance sought in vain during the last Euro. It is a curious paradox. The absent are always wrong ? Maybe. This group is strong, solid, and wants to do great things.” commented after the meeting a Didier Deschamps who will be able to afford to rotate his workforce Wednesday, November 30 against Tunisia (at 4 p.m.). From his reactions to the two goals of his star striker, we can probably deduce that he is relieved. He is not the only one.

World Cup 2022: France qualified, Poland wakes up… the matches of Saturday November 26



World Cup 2022: no boycott for the debut of the Blues, followed by 12.5 million viewers

The French team made a successful debut at the 2022 World Cup: more than 12.5 million viewers followed Tuesday from 8 p.m. on TF1 its big victory against Australia (4-1), according to figures from Médiamétrie published Wednesday, November 23.

While the World Cup in Qatar had been the subject of boycott calls before its start, this match achieved the “best audience since June 2021 for all programs and all channels combined”, welcomed TF1.

This number of viewers is comparable to that of the first match of the Blues at the 2018 World Cup, again against Australia (12.6 million), which took place on a Saturday noon.

Over 5 million viewers for the opening game

At the time, however, viewers of the entry into the running of the Blues represented a larger share of all those watching television at that time (69% audience share, against 48.1% for Tuesday’s game).

TF1 is the only channel in France to broadcast the World Cup unencrypted, also broadcast on beIN Sports for a fee. Sunday, November 20, the opening match between the host country – Qatar – and Ecuador, broadcast at 5 p.m., had attracted more than 5 million viewers.

These audience scores seem to show that the calls for a boycott of which the competition was the object did not have a notable impact. Since the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar in December 2010, the competition has sparked many controversies on subjects such as respect for human rights and the protection of the environment.



2022 World Cup: reactive Blues win easily against Australia

Ignition delay. If we had to be picky, it is in these terms that we would describe the victory of the Blues against the Australian Socceroos, this Tuesday, November 22, for their first match in Qatar. Didier Deschamps’ team, surprised at the start, took a good twenty minutes to enter their World Cup, before reassuring themselves and showing their talent to finally win (4-1).

Enterprising from the first minutes, the Australians, taking advantage of a faulty Benjamin Pavard in marking, scored their first goal in the 9th minute, through Craig Goodwin. A goal full of realism in front of a helpless Hugo Lloris. In the process, the side Lucas Hernandez leaves on injury, replaced by his brother Theo.

The French defense, weakened in the absence of its manager, Raphaël Varane, will therefore have yielded very quickly. The unprecedented duo of central defenders Konaté-Upamecano, lacking in automation, will have taken a good quarter of an hour before getting back in the saddle, like the rest of the team.

Rabiot and Giroud turn things around

The equalizer came from a long cross from Théo Hernandez headed by Adrien Rabiot (27th minute), before Olivier Giroud, so far transparent, restored the advantage to the Blues, on a decisive pass from this even Rabiot, five minutes later (32nd).

Remobilized, the men of Didier Deschamps no longer left the opposing half of the field in the first half and continued to press the Socceroos. Great unknown at the time of starting, the control of the midfield was to the advantage of the Blues. The Rabiot-Tchouaméni-Griezmann trio, unprecedented, answered many questions, being very clean technically and efficient in the recovery. The Blues, however, concluded this contrasting first half with a final scare: in added time, the Australian, Jackson Irvine saw his shot crash into the right upright of Hugo Lloris.

A more controlled second act

In the second half, the Blues initially contented themselves with spinning the ball, ignoring efforts to knock out the opponent, before Kylian Mbappé’s repeated accelerations ended up making the Australian net vibrate. The one on whom a lot of hopes rested in attack, after the package of the Golden Ball Karim Benzema, assumed his role by playing his speed to destabilize the opposing defense. It was on an uncrossed header at six meters, on a cross from Ousmane Dembélé, that he was first rewarded. (68th minute).

Three minutes later, Olivier Giroud dashed the last Australian hopes by scoring a brace, with an unstoppable header, on a cross from Mbappé. The AC Milan striker scored his 51st goal with France and thus joined Thierry Henry at the top of the ranking of tricolor scorers.

TO READ. 2022 World Cup: Australia, a very political outsider

Despite a failed start to the match, the French internationals were able to raise the bar to win by three goals. Faced with a tougher opponent, the team of Didier Deschamps will however have to raise their level of play. Next test against Denmark, opponent who has often foiled the Blues, from this Saturday, November 26th. The Blues will aim for a qualification for the 8th finals.



World Cup 2022: the Blues, weakened defending champions

The scenario, dramatic, repeats itself. An injury, medical examinations, then the announcement that falls like a cleaver: that of a new package to be deplored. For several months, the bad news has been linked for the French football team, while the World Cup in Qatar, where it presents itself as defending champion, has just started. The trend has not reversed a few dozen hours before the kickoff of the first match of the Blues, Tuesday, November 22 at 8 p.m. against Australia.

On Saturday evening, France striker Karim Benzema withdrew after injuring his thigh during training. Three days earlier, 25-year-old Christopher Nkunku, injured in his knee, made the same forced decision. Before them, the pillars of the 2018 victory Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, goalkeeper Mike Maignan and defender Presnel Kimpembe had already announced that they would not take part in the competition.

Olivier Giroud, the best equipped to replace Karim Benzema

To remedy this, Didier Deschamps opted for a larger group. Without Pogba or Kanté, the midfielder of the France team is bald. The coach was diplomatic with the newcomers: “You know what the two absent ones represent in terms of experience, of leadership. Fortunately, in the various gatherings, these new players had some playing time.

For the former physical trainer of the Blues, Éric Bedouet, present during the 2014 World Cup, the summoned midfielders have a card to play. The latter recalls that “Youssouf Fofana knows Aurélien Tchouaméni by heart, having worked alongside him in Monaco, who himself now rubs shoulders with Eduardo Camavinga at Real Madrid. »

In attack, Olivier Giroud is the best equipped to replace Karim Benzema. Holder in Russia, four years ago, and author of a very good start to the season with AC Milan, he has often been compared to his injured compatriot. A rivalry maintained mainly by the media, according to Éric Bedouet.

“I remember a game in Brazil where Giroud and Benzema were playing together on the pitch. At the end, Olivier found that his match had not been at the level.he recalls. “I showed him his match stats and said ‘Look at the numbers, the number of runs you’ve made to unsettle the opposition, assists etc. That’s how Karim scored.” He was reassured. That’s a group. »

Heal the egos

By summoning a larger group, the staff of the France team will have to heal the egos between the indisputable holders and the others. “Will they all have playing time? I don’t have the answer today”conceded Didier Deschamps, recalling that his main objective, with his staff,is not to lose anyone”.

“You never know what can happen during a competition, so everyone is likely to playrecalls Éric Bedouet. If Didier takes them, it’s because he knows that these are players who will blend into the collective. A group is built like that. If you take someone who absolutely wants to enter the field but you take him as a substitute, it can create problems. »

“It’s often the substitutes that make the group work”

For the specialist, “Each player is carefully monitored throughout the year. There are correspondences between the staff of the France team and the clubs to find out the personality of one or another. he explains. If a player is selected because of his sporting skills, the fact remains that he will also be selected for his ability to accept remaining on the bench and to take on a more secondary role..

“In reality, it is often the substitutes who make the group work well. Take the example of Adil Rami in 2018”, advises Eric Bedouet. In Russia, the defender had not played a single minute in the seven games of the Blues. However, all his teammates had insisted on the leading role of number 17 during the competition. Jovial and a joker, he had contributed in his own way to making this group welded and united. Condition sine qua non to aim for a new coronation.


The Blues, always present at the highest level

France is taking part in Qatar in its 16e World Cup. It’s his 7e consecutive appearance, the longest streak in its history.

By combining Mondial and Euro, France participates in its 14e consecutive major tournament. The Habs have not been absent from a major international tournament since the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

The reigning world champions won their opening match in only three of the last twelve editions of the World Cup.

This is the 5e consecutive major tournament of Didier Deschamps as coach of France, a national record.



World Cup 2022: Karim Benzema package, the Blues groggy

The French world champions woke up on Sunday November 20 without Karim Benzema, Ballon d’Or struck down by a new injury. Another blow for the Blues before facing Australia at the World Cup on Tuesday (kick-off at 8 p.m.).

The series of injured continues to shake up the French team and the latest episode takes the form of a violent shock: the Real Madrid striker is on the ground, like before him Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, Mike Maignan , Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku.

It’s a ” sledgehammer “, summarizes the daily La Provence en Une, when the sports newspaper L’Equipe headlines on the “ Lead Balloon “. Benzema” sees his hopes of winning the World Cup with the Blues dashed, one of his goals as he reported after receiving the Ballon d’Or on October 17 sums up Le Progrès, the flagship daily of his native region.

Convalescent for a month, Benzema hoped to see the end of the tunnel on Saturday, participating in his first collective training with the Blues. But he had to cut it short, victim of a “ lesion “left thigh muscle” which will require a recovery period of three weeks “, explained the Federation.

“Leave my seat”

In my life I have never given up but tonight I have to think about the team as I always have “, reacted the striker on Instagram, on the night of Saturday to Sunday. ” Reason tells me to leave my place to someone who can help our group have a good World Cup “. At 34, Benzema will probably never play a second World Cup, after that of 2014 which he finished in the quarter-finals, in the shoes of France’s top scorer.

FIFA regulations allow Didier Deschamps to call a new player until Monday, the day before France-Australia, to make a last-minute replacement in the event of injury. But he can also decide to keep a group of 25 players. To defend their 2018 title, the Blues will have to do without the former Lyonnais, who returned to favor last year after his banishment (2015-2021) following the “sextape affair”.

More than ever, Paris SG star Kylian Mbappé finds himself at the center of expectations. The attack tank remains well filled, however, with Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé, Kingsley Coman, Marcus Thuram, Randal Kolo Muani … and Olivier Giroud, eternal return and first applicant to replace Benzema.

mysterious evil

A rather thick haze has surrounded Benzema’s state of health since mid-October. He had been complaining of persistent discomfort in his right thigh for several weeks, without the nature of his physical problems being clearly established.

He had played his last match in full on October 19, an Elche-Real won 3-0 by Madrid with a goal from the Frenchman, crowned Ballon d’Or two days earlier in Paris. And he had only been able to play since then for about thirty minutes on November 2 in the Champions League. The stretch of his recovery period began to raise questions on the eve of the World Cup, in particular his ability to repeat high-intensity efforts in the heat of Qatar.



World Cup 2022: the list of packages is growing for the Blues

This is a new blow for Didier Deschamps, six days before the debut of the French team in the World Cup in Qatar. The coach of the Blues announced Wednesday, November 16 the summons of Frankfurt striker Randal Kolo Muani for the competition. The 23-year-old player (2 sections in the national team), currently training in Japan, will join his teammates in Doha on Thursday morning.

He replaces Christopher Nkunku in the list of 26 World Cup participants. The former Parisian, who has had a string of good performances at his club Leipzig, was forced to forfeit Tuesday, November 15 due to a sprained left knee contracted during training.

Absent holders

For several weeks, the multiplication of injuries has been a headache for Didier Deschamps. Several locker room executives will not participate in the competition, especially in midfield. This is particularly the case for Paul Pogba (knee) and N’Golo Kanté (hamstrings). The two players had played a major role in the coronation of the Blues in Moscow in 2018. In the midfield, the coach will therefore have to resort to players without much experience in selection and who have played little or not at all together.

At the end of October, Mike Maignan had thrown in the towel due to a calf injury. The goalkeeper was replaced by veteran Steve Mandanda, who currently plays for Rennes.

The French defense was not spared either. Less than a week after the announcement of the list of players summoned to the World Cup, the defender of Paris Saint-Germain Presnel Kimpembe, claiming a starting place in the central hinge, has also given up going to Qatar due to from an insufficiently healed injury to the Achilles tendon. He was replaced by the Monegasque Axel Disasi.

► The list of 26 who fly to Qatar

Guardians: Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Rennes)

Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Théo Hernandez (AC Milan), Axel Disasi (AS Monaco), Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool), Jules Koundé (FC Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Raphaël Varane ( Manchester United), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders: Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (AS Monaco), Mattéo Guendouzi (Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus Turin), Aurélien Tchouameni (Real Madrid), Jordan Veretout (Marseille)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan), Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid), Kylian Mbappé (Paris SG), Randal Kolo Muani (Frankfurt), Marcus Thuram (Monchengladbach)



Rugby: the Blues still on the path to success

There are only four minutes left in a meeting that the Blues watch escape, badly in their legs and clumsy against Australians much more dashing than expected. Will they be the executioners of the XV of France again, these men from the antipodes who are the last to have defeated them in July 2021? The score on the Stade de France scoreboard is 29-25 in favor of the visitors.

So the stands launch into a Marseillaise out of the blue, summoning the energy of despair. And the Blues suddenly find the opening. A model jump pass from Matthieu Jalibert, a swaying dance from tightrope walker Damian Penaud, erasing with a sharp hook and a din slicing two opponents to flatten the winning try, and here are the Blues victorious on the wire ( 30-29). Moment of grace.

A group that adapts and reacts

This XV of France thus achieves an eleventh consecutive success, and beats an old record dating back to the 1930s, when the Blues of yesteryear, a time excluded from the Six Nations Tournament, had managed a series of ten against “small” teams. such as Italy and Germany. Suffice to say that today dominating all the nations encountered since the summer of 2021 is a performance of another scope.

Coach Fabien Galthié talks about ” pride “. Captain Antoine Dupont rather evokes the following: “It just makes us want to do more in the coming months. » The Blues inevitably turn their gaze towards this World Cup which is looming at home from September 8 to October 28, 2023. The final campaign which must lead to the Holy Grail has begun, and Fabien Galthié does not fail to mention the importance of garner as much confidence as possible before the deadline.

The short result against Australia is to be read in this light. Yes, the Blues proved to be borrowed for more than twenty minutes at the start of each period: fragile conquest, game launches at half mast, meager inspiration at the foot. It’s a lot. But they finally prevailed.

And the coach to praise his group’s ability to adapt and react. “The victory validates the choices we have made since the beginning of this mandatehe analyzed after the meeting. Both the choices of method, consistency, but also the choices on the players selected. »

The XV of France strategist underlines the youth of his troops, not so much on their age, which is slowly increasing (26.5 years on average for the group against the Wallabies), but on their common past in the jersey (23 selections on average only). “When I look at the others, I see that we are often, if not always, the team that has a collective experience below the best. So we are on a path…”

Bite everything from here to the Mondial

Everything is certainly not definitively stalled with these Blues who do not yet have comprehensive insurance. But the certainties are piling up, and it is not for nothing that Fabien Galthié evokes a XV “premium”, with ever more clearly identified executives. Hence the tenure of the pillar Cyril Baille or the opener Romain Ntamack, even if the two players are coming back from injuries and still seem to lack rhythm. The return of former captain Charles Ollivon, also elected man of the match, also contributes to this quest for consistency.

Even if the margin of progress is still real, the Blues in any case want to let go of nothing on the road to the World Cup. “It’s important to arrive at the World Cup thinking that we can beat everyoneinsisted Gaël Fickou, the most capped of the Blues (72 selections), at the dawn of this autumn tour. Without lacking in humility, our goal is to remain undefeated and take first place in the world rankings. » The XV of France is still second behind Ireland, and closely followed by South Africa.

And it is precisely the South Africans who are looming on November 12 in Marseille, before Japan on the 20th in Toulouse. If the Blues are up to their ambitions, it is another historic record that they can go for: that of the most consecutive victories (18) at international level, which New Zealand co-holds (between August 2015 and October 2016) and England (between October 2015 and March 2017). For that, it would be necessary to devour this autumn tour and another grand slam in the Six Nations Tournament in the spring of 2023. Then will come the World Cup which it would be a question of finally winning…



Rugby World Cup: the Blue beaten on the wire

A place in the final, for the first time in the history of French women’s rugby: until the last minute, the Bleues could believe it against the New Zealanders, who were playing at home, at Eden Park in Auckland . Until this final penalty awarded for a dangerous tackle. But opener Caroline Drouin, visibly exhausted, completely missed her long kick. Their opponents only had to manage the last seconds, before a clearance in touch synonymous with victory on the wire. The “Black Fern”reigning world champions, will meet England in the final next Saturday, victorious over Canada (26-19), which Les Bleues will face for the bronze medal.

Cruel disappointment for these Bleues who glimpsed the final. The French, for the eighth time in the semi-finals of a World Cup, have again failed at the gates of the final, against a team that they had nevertheless just beaten four times in a row. Their defeat by one point is reminiscent of that of their male colleagues in 2011, during the World Cup final, again against the All Blacks. On TF1, coach Thomas Darracq did not hide his disappointment: “We had a big match, the girls did what was expected of them (…). We took risks… The kicking game cost us dearly tonight. We have the penalty for winning, it’s very frustrating because tonight the place was really there. These are games that are played for nothing. It’s sad for this team. To pass so close, it’s hard, it’s very hard “.

Les Bleues, who scored three tries (as many as their opponents of the day) notably had a very good first period. In the second half, they were reduced to 14 following the exclusion of Safi N’Diaye who, at the end of the meeting, made a point of apologizing to her teammates: “With the experience I have, I must not take (it). We were close to the feat and we lost again in the semi-finals. We will have to digest, and of course we will give everything for this third place. We had this dream of going to the final, we didn’t go far but we will get up very quickly… ”

Five-time world champions, the “Black Ferns” will face the English next Saturday. They will have a hard time facing the first nation in the world and the big favorite of the competition.