The French women's team, which has not lost since its elimination in the quarter-finals of the World Cup this summer, won 2-1 against Norway on Friday in Oslo during the third day of the Nations League, moving closer from “Final 4”.
Three matches, three victories. Faced with the Norwegians who appeared intermittently at the Ullevaal Stadion, the Blues, largely overhauled by Hervé Renard with the tenure of Griege Mbock, Julie Dufour and Amandine Henry, were effective in a fairly closed meeting. With this victory, captain Wendie Renard's teammates consolidated their first place in group 2 with 9 points, ahead of Austria (4 points), victorious on Friday over Portugal (2-1).
For its part, Norway, deprived of three executives - Ada Hegerberg, Caroline Graham Hansen and Guro Reiten - continues to be in doubt and does not take off, with only one point. The Scandinavian selection, world champion in 1995 and Olympic champion in 2000, is going through a difficult phase illustrated by its elimination in the round of 16 of the World Cup by Japan.
In Hervé Renard's 4-4-2 system, it only took around twenty minutes for the young Paris FC striker Julie Dufour, who was celebrating her first start, to show all her talent and confirm her Impressive start to the season. Omnipresent on her left side, she was at the origin of the first French goal in the 23rd minute. After requesting a one-two with Grace Geyoro, the 22-year-old attacker entered the area before crossing hard behind the feet of Norwegian captain Maren Mjelde, who scored against her side (23rd).
The French coach also chose this match to revive Griedge Mbock. The OL defender had not started since September 6, 2022, against Greece (5-1), the date of her serious right knee injury. Mbock, who played 90 minutes with OL last weekend, was lined up in the center alongside Wendie Renard.
Hervé Renard, who we often saw annoyed on Friday in his technical zone, had once again placed his trust in midfielder Amandine Henry, 34 years old alongside Selma Bacha, aligned further inside and still available. Appointed N.1 goalkeeper of the Blues in place of Pauline Peyraud-Magnin - package also -, Constance Picaud could not do much about the Norwegian equalizer (60th).
While the French were falling back, the Norwegians took advantage of a loss of ball by Sakina Karchaoui and a mix-up in the area to come back to the score thanks to Marit Lund, scorer of her first goal for the selection. But the Blue showed character by regaining the advantage less than ten minutes later (69th) with the inevitable Renard-Bacha duo. The captain scored her 37th goal for the selection, with an uncrossed header receiving a corner from Selma Bacha, her OL teammate.
Two minutes later, Bacha, placed back in the left lane, was not far from scoring a magnificent goal on a shot which flirted with the opposite corner (72nd), followed by new attempts from Grace Geyoro (75th) then Eugénie Le Sommer with a superb volley just above (76th). Tuesday at the Auguste-Delaune stadium in Reims, the Blues will meet the players of Leif Gunnar Smerud, interim coach since the departure of Hege Riise.