Coach of the France National Women’s team, Corinne Diacre has admitted that her team will feel confident with bold memories of how they beat the Falcons 8-0 during a friendly on April 6, but says their Group A battle on June 17 in Rennes, France cannot be taken lightly, as the Nigerians will try and get redemption from the tie.
Diacre is softly spoken but an inner conviction comes across loud and clear, which has characterised a career in football that has broken barriers.
As a player she won more than a century of caps, many as captain of France, and is now geared towards producing the most competitive side she can mould in time for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. France will face South Korea in the first match of the Women’s World Cup when the tournament kicks off June 7 in Paris.
If the hosts win the championship next year, France would become the first nation to simultaneously hold women’s and men’s World Cup titles. The nation has seen FIFA World Cup victory on home soil before, when the men won the Mundial in 1998 but, if France’s women win in 2019, it will be a first major international trophy for the ladies.
Though France are the highest ranked team in the group, at number three in the world, and Nigeria last (at 39), behind South Korea (14) and Norway (13), Diacre insists the Falcons cannot be written off.
The 44-year-old tactician said: “The Nigerians are champions of Africa, even if we beat them very clearly lately. Their defeat at home was very salutary for them.”