Clara Mateo believes France can put their pre-World Cup difficulties behind them as they look to unite under new head coach Herve Renard.

Les Bleues were embroiled in a pre-tournament saga involving a group of leading players and former coach Corinne Diacre, who oversaw their run to the semi-finals of Euro 2022.

A revolt from several players – including captain Wendie Renard and Eugenie Le Sommer – ultimately led to Diacre's dismissal, with two-time Africa Cup of Nations winner Herve Renard installed in her place.

With the drama over, Mateo is hopeful the squad can put their troubles behind them in Australia and New Zealand, where they face Jamaica, Brazil and Panama in the group stage.

"I think there's a very good understanding between the players and the staff," she told Stats Perform. "We're all doing our bit, and we're all keen to represent France well at this World Cup.

"As far as we're concerned, we're concentrating on ourselves. We know what we have to do, and we'll give it our all on the pitch.


"[Herve Renard] puts a lot of emphasis on the mental aspect and the cohesion within the group. He brings all his experience from all the competitions he's played in before.

"You want to listen to everything he has to say. We want to fight for him. They [the staff] have lots of things to teach us and we're very receptive. We're working to be ready for D-Day."

Mateo described her inclusion in the squad as the fulfilment of a dream, adding that France have learned from their semi-final loss to Germany at last year's European Championships.

"Now that it's become a goal, I think it's a great achievement," she said on making the squad. 

"[But] there's still a long way to go. We want to do well at this World Cup. We're going there with ambitions.

"We've set ourselves the target of reaching the semi-finals, because that's something we haven't done in the past. We want to reach the semi-finals.

"Obviously, in the back of our minds, what we want is to win this World Cup. So we're going to the World Cup with a lot of ambition, and we know that we have this objective."

Herve Renard's arrival as France coach has made Les Bleues think they are "the best in the world" and fostered belief in their chances of winning the Women's World Cup, says Selma Bacha.

Renard, who oversaw Saudi Arabia's incredible win over eventual champions Argentina at the men's World Cup last year, took the reins in March following the dismissal of Corinne Diacre.

The French Football Federation removed Diacre from the role after a group of players – including captain Wendie Renard – refused to represent the team if she remained in charge.

With France gearing up to face Jamaica in their Group F opener in Sydney on July 23, Lyon star Bacha has been impressed by Renard's impact, telling Stats Perform: "He put us in a good mood. 

"He made us realise that we were the best in the world, that we had great, great potential and that he was coming in with a game plan.

"Everyone understands this game plan, so when everyone understands, we're all in the same boat. 

"Frankly, I'm ready to die for this coach, this staff, and I hope that my soldiers – in other words, my team-mates – are ready."

France suffered a semi-final exit against Germany at least year's European Championships in England, but Bacha is confident they can improve on that showing in Australia and New Zealand.

Asked if she believed France could win the tournament, Bacha said: "Frankly, yes, I do. Once again, it's all very well to talk, but now we have to act. 

"It's all very well to say, 'we believe in it', but now we have to act. Right now, the group is top notch, we're living well and we know that we want this title that France so desperately needs."

Having represented France since 2021, Bacha is relishing the prospect of making her first World Cup appearance later this month.

"It's a dream, a childhood dream," she said. "I never thought I'd experience this kind of moment. I'd been to the Euros, but a World Cup is still a World Cup.

"I'm very proud because I know I've worked hard to get here and I still have room for improvement, as the coach says. But in any case, it's a dream come true.

"I'm really happy because I never thought things would progress so quickly, and then, I'm someone who listens a lot. When someone comes to give me advice, I listen carefully. I'm very proud of that. 

"I know that I still have room for improvement and I have very high goals, but I know I'll get there. For the moment, I'm very happy with the start of my career."

Wendie Renard and Eugenie Le Sommer were recalled to the France squad on Friday as new coach Herve Renard began his Women's World Cup planning.

Long-serving captain and centre-back Renard indicated in February she would not play on for France under the Corinne Diacre regime, and forwards Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto followed suit.

That public boycott by the trio triggered the end of Diacre's five-and-a-half-year spell in charge.

Diani and Katoto are unavailable for selection due to injury at present, but the change of leadership has led to an immediate recall for Wendie Renard, although it has yet to be decided whether the 32-year-old will skipper the team.

Coach Renard – not related to defender Renard – said the pair would talk about that issue, and he would also consider the squad's feelings when they meet for friendlies against Colombia on April 7 and against Canada on April 11.

Talks have taken place with Katoto already, with boss Renard assuring the striker she is a big part of his future plans, while he has also delivered a positive message to Amandine Henry, the experienced Lyon midfielder who dropped off the international group during Diacre's reign.

Forward Le Sommer, who has won 175 caps but last featured in April 2021, had also been cut out of Diacre's plans.

She missed the Euro 2022 finals, but ahead of her 34th birthday in May the Lyon forward finds herself back in favour with Les Bleues and has a chance to majorly revive her international career.

"She has incomparable experience," said coach Renard. "We really need her experience and her intelligence in the game. It was a pleasure to chat with her and I can't wait to meet her and see her at work."

Looking at the wider picture, Renard indicated he had been given carte blanche regarding squad selection.

The French Football Federation previously criticised the manner of the players' boycott, affirming that acting in such a way "to express their criticisms was no longer acceptable in future".

For the greater good, however, misgivings have been set aside, with coach Renard saying: "It was very clear to me. The FFF gave me a very extensive list of pre-selected players with all the players.

"I felt the FFF gave me the green light to select all the players from this list. For me, what happened [in the past], it does not concern me," the coach said. "We can pay tribute to Corinne Diacre who obtained good results. But now the page turns."

The appointment of Renard as Diacre's successor came on Thursday, after he resigned as coach of the Saudi Arabia men's team.

He oversaw the team's stunning 2-1 victory over eventual winners Argentina at last year's World Cup in Qatar, and now another World Cup awaits, with Australia and New Zealand co-hosting the women's tournament in July and August.

His contract with Les Bleues will run until August 2024, meaning he is also set to be in charge of France at next year's home Olympic Games in Paris.

Herve Renard has been confirmed as the new head coach of France's women's team after a player revolt led to the dismissal of Corinne Diacre.

Renard resigned from his role as Saudi Arabia boss earlier this week, having overseen the team's memorable 2-1 victory over eventual winners Argentina at last year's World Cup in Qatar.

The French Football Federation (FFF) sacked Diacre earlier in March after several big-name Bleues players refused to play under her, criticising her management style and treatment of the squad.

Renard was immediately touted as a potential replacement for Diacre, and the 54-year-old's appointment was finalised on Thursday.

His contract with Les Bleues will run until August 2024, allowing him to lead the team at the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, as well as next year's home Olympic Games in Paris.

In addition to leading Zambia and Ivory Coast to Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2012 and 2015 respectively, Renard has also taken charge of Angola and Morocco during a long career in international football.

A statement from the FFF said Renard will be officially presented at a press conference on Friday, when he will also name his squad for next month's friendlies against Colombia and Canada.

France will begin their World Cup campaign against Jamaica in Sydney on July 23, before facing Brazil and Panama in their subsequent Group F matches.

Saudi Arabia have announced the resignation of head coach Herve Renard, who is set to be confirmed as the head coach of France's women's team.

Renard, who had a contract as Saudi Arabia coach until 2027, will take charge of the French side ahead of the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year.

The 54-year-old, who has won the Africa Cup of Nations twice as a coach, will replace Corinne Diacre as Les Bleues coach.

Diacre left her role amid a player exodus over her management style and treatment of the squad.

In a statement on social media, the Saudi national team said: "The Saudi Arabian Football Federation Board of Directors has agreed on the contract termination of the Head Coach of the Saudi National Team Mr Herve Renard upon his request.

"A legal settlement has been reached to end the contract between the two parties.

"The President and Board of Directors of SAFF wish for Mr Renard every success in his future career."

Renard took the post in 2019 and guided Saudi Arabia to their second successive World Cup finals, becoming the foreign-born manager with the most wins in the nation's history.

He led Saudi Arabia to a shock 2-1 win over eventual champions Argentina in their first group game in Qatar, but defeats to Poland and Mexico meant they failed to reach the knock-out rounds.

Renard oversaw a 2-1 friendly defeat to Bolivia on Tuesday and later posted on social media: "Having been the coach of the national team of Saudi Arabia is a great pride for me. 

"Since August 2019, I had the chance to be an integral part of the life of this beautiful country. I have seen this team grow alongside me and achieve a fabulous World Cup and this fantastic and unforgettable win against Argentina.

"Very proud to have been able to show to the world the progress and a good image of Saudi football. It's time for me to fly to another horizon but with these memories engraved in me."

Didier Deschamps has expressed concern about how the coach of the France women's team was ousted from power after a player revolt.

Three players, led by captain Wendie Renard, went public by stating they would not play on for Les Bleus under the then-existing regime.

The French Football Federation (FFF) elected to sack Diacre on March 9 after acknowledging her relationship with players had "reached a point of no return which harms the interests of the national team".

It was a decision that ended a sometimes controversial reign, with the move coming ahead of France competing at this year's Women's World Cup, which takes place in July and August in Australia and New Zealand.

Deschamps has never faced such a situation, but he appears to have reservations about how the saga played out.

"I'm laughing, but I don't want to laugh about it," he said in a France men's team press conference on Thursday. "I have to weigh every word. I don't have the ins and outs.

"After the decision… I don't know if it was a good one or a less bad one or whatever.

"There is the substance and the form. As a coach, trainer, the form [of how it happened] bothers me. I will not say more, but you will have understood me."

Thierry Henry has turned down the chance to become the next coach of France following Corinne Diacre's dismissal, FFF committee member Jean-Michel Aulas confirmed.

The former striker, widely considered one of the country's all-time greatest players, has been out of a coaching job since the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, where he was an assistant with Belgium.

Following Diacre's exit amid a player boycott for the women's team however, the FFF are seeking to find a successor ahead of the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year.

It will not be Henry however, with the former Montreal Impact boss declining the chance to take the reins heading into the tournament.

"He considered it, Thierry," Aulas told Le Figaro. "I personally asked him the question, but the response was not positive.

"He was obviously very flattered that he was asked. We did it because we were told he might be interested.

"But it will not be Thierry Henry. I think he is moving on to other projects."

France's World Cup preparations were dealt a major blow when former captain Wendie Renard announced she would sit out the tournament, along with several other key players, in protest against Diacre.

Though the FFF initially stood by their coach, they elected to sack the former Clermont boss after acknowledging her relationship with players had "reached a point of no return which harms the interests of the national team".

France open their campaign against Jamaica on July 23 before further games against Brazil and Panama.

France captain Wendie Renard is willing to return to international football after participating in a player revolt which led to the sacking of head coach Corinne Diacre.

Last month, Lyon defender Renard announced she would not play at this year's World Cup under Diacre's leadership, a stance which was replicated by forwards Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto.

Diacre subsequently accused her detractors of participating in "a destabilisation operation", but the French Football Federation (FFF) removed her from her post following a meeting of its executive committee.

The FFF said a "fracture" between Diacre and senior players had "reached a point of no return which harms the interests of the national team".

In the aftermath of that decision, Renard – who has won 142 international caps and played at three World Cups – is open to a return, if any future head coach wishes to recall her.

"It's the coach who will select me if I perform well with my club... but why not?" she told radio station Europe 1.

"I am a competitor at heart. I love this jersey and I want to do everything to win a title with it."

Despite taking the decision to sack Diacre, the FFF criticised the manner of the players' boycott, affirming that acting in such a way "to express their criticisms was no longer acceptable in future".

Corinne Diacre was sacked as France head coach on Thursday after a player revolt highlighted "irreversible dysfunctions" ahead of the Women's World Cup.

The French Football Federation (FFF) said its executive committee determined a "fracture" between Diacre and senior players had "reached a point of no return which harms the interests of the national team".

It follows captain Wendie Renard last month announcing she would not play at the World Cup under Diacre's leadership, with forwards Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto following suit by putting their own international careers on hold. All three issued forceful statements on social media before effectively going on strike from the team.

Diacre came out fighting on Wednesday when she accused her detractors of participating in "a destabilisation operation ... whose only objective is a personal settling of scores".

Yet her five-and-a-half-year stint at the national team helm is over, following recommendations made by a commission comprising former France women's players Laura Georges and Aline Riera, long-time Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas and former France men's international Marc Keller.

The FFF said in a statement: "The numerous hearings carried out made it possible to establish the observation of a very significant divide with senior players and highlighted a discrepancy with the requirements of the very high level. This fracture has reached a point of no return which harms the interests of the national team.

"If the FFF recognises the involvement and the seriousness of Corinne Deacon and her staff in the exercise of their mission, it appears that the dysfunctions observed seem, in this context, irreversible.

"In view of these elements, it was decided to put an end to the mission of Corinne Deacon at the head of the French women's team.

"This change of coach is part of a new global ambition led by the FFF in favour of the development of women's football and the performance of the French team, which will have to achieve high objectives during the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics."

Interim FFF president Philippe Diallo called on the commission to begin the search for a new head coach and determine candidates as soon as possible.

As Diacre reluctantly departs, the FFF called into question the tactics of the players in staging their public mutiny, stating that operating in such a way "to express their criticisms was no longer acceptable in future".

France begin their campaign at the Women's World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, when they play Jamaica in Sydney on July 23. They will also face Brazil and Panama in Group F.

France coach Corinne Diacre has vowed to lead Les Bleues at this year's Women's World Cup, hitting out at a "destabilisation operation" amid a boycott of the team by several big-name players.

France are in crisis ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with captain Wendie Renard and forward pair Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto putting their international careers on hold.

The trio will skip the World Cup if major changes are not made by the French Football Federation (FFF), with Katoto saying she feels "no longer aligned with the management of the team".

Reports have claimed the players want the FFF to call time on Diacre's six-year stint in charge, but the former France defender insists she is going nowhere.

"In view of the shameful media outburst of recent days, I wish to publicly reaffirm that I am fully determined to carry out my mission, and above all, to honour France at the next World Cup," Diacre said in a widely reported statement.

"My detractors have not hesitated to attack my personal and professional integrity without bothering with the truth.

"I will not let myself be affected by this destabilisation operation, which does not take into account my sporting record, and whose only objective is a personal settling of scores."

United States internationals Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are among those to offer public support to the striking players, along with global players' union FIFPRO.

The FFF pledged to examine the matter last month, and French media reports have suggested Diacre's position will be discussed by the federation later this week.

France will begin their World Cup campaign against Jamaica on July 23, before facing Brazil and Panama in their subsequent Group F fixtures.

France captain Wendie Renard will sit out the 2023 Women's World Cup unless there is a regime change, she revealed in a bombshell announcement on Friday.

In a statement posted on social media, Renard said she loved France "more than anything" but blamed "the current system" for her decision and said she wanted to protect her mental health.

The 32-year-old has 142 international caps and is one of the best-known women's footballers in the world game.

Renard was stripped of the captaincy by head coach Corinne Diacre in 2017, before regaining it four years later, with French outlet RMC Sport reporting her decision on Friday relates to concerns about Diacre, who remains in charge of the team.

Renard wrote: "I defended the blue, white and red jersey 142 times with passion, respect, commitment and professionalism. I love France more than anything, I'm not perfect, far from it, but I can no longer endorse the current system, far from the requirements required by the highest level.

"It's a sad but necessary day to preserve my mental health. It is with a heavy heart that I come by this message to inform you of my decision to take a step back from the French team.

"Unfortunately, I will not play this World Cup in such conditions. My face can hide the pain, but my heart hurts... and I don't want to hurt any more."

Renard has won 15 Division 1 Feminine titles with her club Lyon, as well as nine Coupe de France trophies and eight Women's Champions League titles.

The Women's World Cup takes place between July 20 and August 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

England and Barcelona star Lucy Bronze sent a message of support to Renard, her former Lyon team-mate, posting on Instagram: "With you my sister always."

French tennis legend Yannick Noah added his support, writing: "Courage to you Wendie."

France must defy the weight of history as they attempt to sink Germany in the second semi-final at the Women's European Championship.

Corinne Diacre's French team have already made a colossal impact on the tournament in England, starting from when they smashed five goals past Italy in the first half of their opening group game.

That felt like a statement 45 minutes, a message to their rivals that this France team are different to those who have come before. Although France have not quite hit those swashbuckling heights since, they are through to their first Women's Euros semi-final, after falling in the quarters in each of the last three editions.

Coach Diacre made some tough choices for this tournament, omitting star forward Eugenie Le Sommer and Champions League player of the match Amandine Henry, and Les Bleues suffered a crushing blow when star striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto suffered an ACL injury during the group stages.

It became imperative that those players Diacre has trusted to perform delivered for the coach, and a 1-0 quarter-final win over the Netherlands, secured by Eve Perisset's extra-time penalty, took France further than they have ever gone before.

However, and here comes the kicker, each of the last four first-time semi-finalists fell at this hurdle: Spain (1997), Finland (2005), Netherlands (2009) and Austria (2017).

To boot, Germany have progressed from eight of their nine previous European Championship semi-finals, with the lone defeat coming in 1993 against Italy.

France will be up against it in Milton Keynes, with their opponents yet to concede a goal in these finals.

Germany might not be at their absolute pomp, but their next goal will be Die Nationalelf's 100th in European Championship football. No team has yet reached that landmark.

Germany look to turn back time

Germany's players do not need to look far to be served a reminder of their rich heritage in this tournament. Coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg was a four-time European champion in her playing days, helping the national team to titles in 1989, 1991, 1995 and 1997.

A run of six consecutive European titles was ended with a shock quarter-final exit to Denmark five years ago, and Voss-Tecklenburg was hired in November 2018 to lead the team forward.

She played 125 games for her country, scoring 27 goals, and was twice Germany's footballer of the year.

Germany cannot rely on past glories once the whistle sounds on Wednesday, even if France will be aware of their opponents' illustrious history.

This is the third Women's Euros clash between Germany and France, and the previous two resoundingly went Germany's way: 3-0 in 2005 and 5-1 in 2009, both in the group stage.

There are players in Germany's 2022 squad looking to live up to the feats of stars gone by, and captain Alexandra Popp can become the first ever player to score in five consecutive appearances at the Women's Euros when she lines up against France. Her four goals so far put her outright second in the race for the Golden Boot ahead of the semi-finals getting under way, one behind England's Beth Mead.

Collectively, Germany have been solid and have yet to concede a goal after four games. Only Germany themselves have kept five or more consecutive clean sheets in the history of this tournament (seven in a row between 2001 and 2005).

French fancy a final flourish

The Wembley final beckons on Sunday, and France would dearly love to be involved in that showpiece. They have won two of their last three internationals against Germany (L1), most recently a 1-0 victory in a friendly in June 2021.

Germany won on penalties when these sides met in the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals, their last major tournament clash, but sufficient time has passed for that to have little bearing.

Diacre is expected to be rewarded with a new contract after this tournament, with French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet saying at the weekend it was important to put that on the backburner for now.

Le Graet said, quoted in L'Equipe: "The competition is not over. Decisions are made when it's all over. It is logical that we will discuss it again soon. I am very happy with Corinne and the progress that has been made. The players and Corinne are very motivated and good together."

If anything has been holding back France, it has been their finishing, which might be a surprise given how deadly they were in that opening 45 minutes against Italy.

Overall, they have had 94 goal attempts but scored just nine times, with their 9.6 per cent shot conversion rate the lowest of the four semi-finalists prior to the last-four games getting under way.

Curiously, France have scored eight of those nine goals in the first half of games, and the other came in the first half of extra time as they knocked out the Dutch, who were the reigning champions.

France boss Corinne Diacre hailed a sizzling performance as Les Bleues trampled over Italy in Rotherham to start their Euro 2022 campaign with a 5-1 statement victory.

Paris Saint-Germain's Grace Geyoro marked her 50th cap by becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in the first half of a Women's European Championship match, and France led 5-0 at the break in the Group D clash.

Geyoro spoke of it being "a great collective effort from the team", largely deflecting well-earned personal praise.

Diacre, whose squad selections faced scrutiny after she omitted France's record scorer Eugenie Le Sommer and Champions League player of the match Amandine Henry, was glad to reflect on a job well done.

She was asked whether it had been the kind of start that France anticipated.

"No, even though we wanted to get off to a strong start in the first match," Diacre said. "The players have done very well in their first game."

France have now won their opener in each of the last five Women's Euros tournaments. They were only the third side to score five or more goals in their opening game of an edition of the competition, after Norway in 1997 (5-0 v Denmark) and England in 2017 (6-0 v Scotland).

It was France's biggest win at the Euros in their history and means they have equalled a team-best run of 11 wins in competitive games.

Still, few were talking up France's chances heading into the tournament, with the likes of England, defending champions the Netherlands, and Spain getting the most attention. This was the kind of performance that might change a few minds.

There were aspects of France's display that were not quite as glorious as their all-action early raids on Italy's backline, with Diacre admitting the second-half display "was less good", albeit crediting the opposition, saying: "The Italians brought a little more."

She was told supporters had been chanting her name in Paris but said it was important to "stay vigilant... stay focused... stay humble".

Italy head coach Milena Bertolini said she felt her side were overly stretched in the first half.

"Maybe we thought we could play it evenly, but we are not on a par with France in terms of physique, technique and intensity," she said.

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