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.

The United States and Canada will do battle in the semi-finals of the women's football tournament at Tokyo 2020 after edging into the final four.

USA - winners of the Olympic tournament four times previously - managed to beat the Netherlands 4-2 on penalties in their quarter-final after the game finished 2-2 at the end of extra time.

Having finished with fewer than six points in the group stage of a major event for the first time in their history, the USA knew a much-improved display was needed against a Dutch side who scored 21 times in their opening three games, the most of any women's side at a single Olympics.

They duly delivered a strong display as they twice took the lead only for Vivianne Miedema to continue her sensational form, scoring twice to cancel out goals from Samantha Mewis and Lynn Williams in an engrossing contest in Yokohama.

Megan Rapinoe swept the decisive penalty kick high into the net after Alyssa Naeher had made two stops to her right.


BRAZIL FALL SHORT AGAIN

Canada await USA after they inflicted further heartbreak on Brazil, whose wait for gold in this event goes on.

Beaten semi-finalists in Rio five years ago, Brazil were held to a 0-0 draw before suffering another defeat on penalties to the 2016 bronze medallists.

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, who was injured in the closing stages of extra time, recovered to make two critical saves in the shoot-out to secure a 4-3 win.

"In the moment, it was about trusting myself, trusting my instincts, and trusting my ability to make a save," she said afterwards.

"Pain is temporary. We have our eyes on the prize."

 

WHITE TREBLE NOT ENOUGH AS MATILDAS WIN CLASSIC

The stand-out quarter-final took place between Australia and Great Britain, a seven-goal thriller eventually ending in a 4-3 victory for the Matildas.

Two goals from Ellen White had turned the game on its head and looked to be enough to send Hege Riise's side through, but Chelsea star Sam Kerr levelled in the 89th minute with a crisp low strike.

The contest then swung Australia's way in a dramatic minute in extra time, Mary Fowler's deflected shot finding the top corner after Caroline Weir had a penalty saved at the other end.

Kerr scored another before White completed her hat-trick with a deft header to set up a frantic finale, with Australia just holding on for a famous win.

Remarkably, they overperformed in terms of expected goals by 3.2, their highest such figure at these finals.

Australia will contest their semi-final against Sweden, who ended Japan's quest for a medal on home soil with a 3-1 victory.

Mina Tanaka cancelled out Magdalena Eriksson's sixth-minute opener, but Sweden took control in the second half through further goals from Stina Blackstenius and Kosovare Asllani.

 

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