Head coach Philippe Bergeroo has brought 16 members from last summer’s World Cup team that fell in penalty kicks to Germany in a quarterfinal to SheBelieves Cup. France also has some of the world’s top young players that have helped bring Les Bleus to the elite of the women’s soccer world over the past few years, earning wins over almost all the top powers.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sarah Bouhaddi (Olympique Lyonnais), Méline Gerard (Olympique Lyonnais), Laëtitia Philippe (Montpellier HSC)
DEFENDERS (7): Sabrina Delannoy (Paris Saint-Germain), Kelly Gadea (Montpellier HSC), Laura Georges (Paris Saint-Germain), Jessica Houara D’Hommeaux (Paris Saint-Germain), Sakina Karchaoui (Montpellier HSC), Amel Majri (Olympique Lyonnais), Griedge Mbock Bathy (Olympique Lyonnais)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Camille Abily (Olympique Lyonnais), Viviane Asseyi (Montpellier HSC), Charlotte Bilbault (FCF Juvisy), Elise Bussaglia (Vfl Wolfsburg), Kadidiatou Diani (FCF Juvisy), Kheira Hamraoui (Paris Saint-Germain), Aurélie Kaci (Olympique Lyonnais), Marie-Charlotte Leger (Montpellier HSC), Elodie Thomis (Olympique Lyonnais)
FORWARDS (4): Marie-Laure Delie (Paris Saint-Germain FC), Claire Lavogez (Olympique Lyonnais), Eugénie Le Sommer (Olympique Lyonnais), Louisa Necib (Olympique Lyonnais)
Since the Women’s World Cup
France is 4-0-0 in UEFA Women’s Euro Qualifying and currently tops Group 3 with a five point lead over second-place Romania. France has played three international friendlies since the 2015 Women’s World Cup, defeating Brazil (2-1), losing to the Netherlands (1-2), and defeating Norway (1-0) in their first match of 2016. After the SheBelieves Cup, France will look ahead to playing at Romania in April to continue the Euro qualifiers.
Who to Watch
France has excellent experience with eight players holding 97 or more caps, led by veteran defender Laura Georges (167 caps/6 goals) and midfielders Camille Abily (158/3) and Elise Bussaglia (150/27). Louisa Necib (135/34) is widely considered one of the best attacking midfielders in the world, while forward Eugenie Le Sommer piled up 52 goals in 116 caps including three scores at the Women’s World Cup. As for the youth, Griedge Mbock Bathy and Kadidiatou Diani were major parts of the France team that won the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Diani scored four times in the tournament and Mbock Bathy once. France goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, who saved Abby Wambach’s penalty kick in January of 2015 in Lorient, is a long-time starter and just hit 100 caps.
2015 Women’s World Cup Finish
Drawn into Group F with England, Colombia and Mexico, France started its tournament well, defeating England 1-0 through a 29th-minute strike by Le Sommer. France was then shocked by Colombia, falling behind in the 19th minute. France dominated the rest of the match, but Colombia substitute Catalina Usme scored against the run of play in second half stoppage time for the 2-0 win. The loss sparked France and it dominated Mexico 5-0. French forward Marie-Laure Delie scored in the first minute of the match, followed by an own goal from Jennifer Ruiz minutes later. Le Sommer tallied two goals in the first half and Amandine Henry finished off a goal in the 80th minute, sending the team to the top of the group. France handily defeated South Korea 3-0 in the Round of 16, but it fell to penalty kicks in the quarterfinal match to Germany, finishing in fifth place.
France qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games through its finish at the Women’s World Cup as one of the top two UEFA teams. At the 2012 London Olympic Games, France qualified for the first time and was drawn into a group the USA, North Korea and Colombia. France jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the USA in the first 15 minutes, but the Americans roared back to win 4-2. France defeated North Korea 5-0 and then squeezed by Colombia with Élodie Thomis’ fifth-minute goal as the only scored of the match. France finished second in the group behind the USA and defeated Sweden (2-1) in the quarterfinals, but lost to Japan (2-1) in the semifinals and played Canada in the third-place match. France dominated the match, but lost 1-0 on second half stoppage-time goal to finish fourth in their first Olympic Games.
vs. USA (March 6; 2 p.m. CT at Nissan Stadium; Nashville, Fla.)
France has beaten the U.S. just once, that coming the in the first game of 2015 for both teams. Eugenie Le Sommer and Jessica Houara tallied in the 50th and 51st minutes to break open a tight game that was played on artificial turf in Lorient, France. Abby Wambach had her penalty kick saved in the match. The U.S. flipped the score one month later in the Algarve Cup title game with goals scored by Julie Johnston and Christen Press while Hope Solo saved a penalty kick late in the game. Call this a rubber match.
vs. GER (March 3; 5 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.)
The rise of France has given Germany another rival in Europe, but the Germans have come out on top most of the time. France did beat Germany 2-0 in 2014, but in their meeting at the World Cup, the teams tied 1-1 through regulation and overtime before Nadine Angerer saved Claire Lavogez’s penalty kick to send the Germans to the semifinal.
vs. ENG (March 9; 5 p.m. ET at FAU Stadium; Boca Raton, Fla.)
The rise of England and France has been nothing but positive for European women’s soccer. In the past 10 years, England and France have drawn five out the last nine games. France defeated England 1-0 in the opening match for both teams at the 2015 Women’s World Cup, although England went on to finish third. In the 2011 Women’s World Cup, France beat England in a dramatic penalty kick shootout to advance to the semifinals.