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“A lesson” and “a nice slap in the face”: Sakina Karchaoui looks back on Les Bleues’ defeat against Spain

A week after the defeat (2-0) against Spain in the Nations League final, what is your view on the match? “For me, it was a total non-match.

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“A lesson” and “a nice slap in the face”: Sakina Karchaoui looks back on Les Bleues’ defeat against Spain

A week after the defeat (2-0) against Spain in the Nations League final, what is your view on the match? “For me, it was a total non-match. Without beating around the bush, we were unable to impose our game. On a tactical level, we missed out. All the girls were disappointed, that's normal, we didn't put in a good collective performance. I think it's a great slap in the face, that we can take today to be stronger tomorrow. This will give us a lesson for the Olympic Games this summer (...). Personally, I didn't do too badly. It's more complicated to combine with Selma Bacha on the left side. In other matches it happened, perhaps the opponent was weaker. We will do what is necessary to remedy this. Collectively speaking, it was a non-match, and we hope not to repeat it.”

Conversely, you were “collectively” there against Germany in the semi-final... “Yes, it was an emotional lift. It's the first time we've won against Germany, it's historic. I scored my first goal, I was happy. We said to ourselves, we are on the right track, there was a first final to be won. At the end of the match, it was a constant questioning: What do we need to improve, what did we do wrong?. I immediately watched the match afterwards: we weren't good at the timing of the passes, technically it was complicated.

Also read Spain-France (F): La Roja too strong, Blue harmless... The tops and flops after the Nations League final

Did the atmosphere of the Cartuja stadium in Seville, which carried Spain, weigh on you during the match? “Personally, I like these atmospheres. It was a full stadium. Even if you are with the opponent, it is a final and you have to win it. He missed a lot of things but it wasn't because of public pressure.

England, Sweden, Ireland: Les Bleues have inherited a difficult draw for the Euro 2025 qualifiers... “Yes, we have a big group, it’s a bit like the group of death! We have to work but we know that the Euro will only be big teams. And to be European champions we will have to win against the best.”

And with Paris Saint-Germain, you will face the Swedish club BK Häcken in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on March 20 and 28. “We played them last season in the 2nd qualifying round and we won the two matches (2-0, 2-1). It was already a very athletic team, and I think it is even more solid today, given what I saw in the championship and in C1. We took the biggest chunk between them and Benfica in physical and athletic terms. But if we play on our qualities, there will be no problem. This is going to be a great poster. We base ourselves on men's football regarding the prestige of the clubs but today Häcken is a big European team.

How do you perceive your role in the locker room, are you increasingly a leader? “Today, I am 28 years old, I have more responsibilities than before. We're not going to give them to you, you have to take them. I have to help the team by sharing my experience with the new generation. We have to show them that work is demanding. I make sure to push the players upwards. I am a calm person, but I know how to say things at the right time, especially in difficult times. When we started the season badly in the Champions League, we had to have a voice in the locker room, and help the captain (Grace Geyoro) to remobilize the troops. Always be optimistic and behave in the right way.

You are at the end of your contract with PSG at the end of the season, how do you see the future? “There are negotiations with PSG. I was also open to discussions with other clubs. I feel very good here in Paris, I feel Parisian, I have the impression of being here for more than three years... I hope for the best for the future.

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