Sun, Jun 09, 2019 - Page 11 News List

France’s women win World Cup opener

EMULATING MEN:France coach Corinne Diacre said that they would ‘like to follow in the footsteps of the senior men’s national team,’ who won in Russia last year

AP, PARIS

France celebrate their win against South Korea at the Women’s World Cup at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

France’s women on Friday took a first step to follow in the FIFA World Cup footsteps of the France men’s team as Wendie Renard scored twice on headers off corner kicks in a 4-0 thrashing of South Korea in a gala World Cup opener.

Eugenie le Sommer and Amandine Henry also got goals on a cool, windy night at the Parc des Princes, the home of Paris Saint-Germain.

French pop star Jain provided the pregame entertainment for the sellout crowd of 45,261, while French President Emmanuel Macron was among the spectators singing La Marseillaise.

“We knew that it was going to be a really emotional evening, but I think we managed it well,” Renard said. “When you have more than 45,000 people singing the French national anthem, obviously it drives you forward.”

France is hosting the tournament at a time when women’s teams are increasing their push for equal treatment from FIFA and other soccer governing bodies. It is vying to become the first nation to hold both the men’s and women’s World Cup titles at the same time.

“I’m sure people expect or hope, and the same goes for us, we’d like to follow in the footsteps of the senior men’s national team, but everything takes time,” France coach Corinne Diacre said.

“We won tonight, but we haven’t still won anything. We have six more steps on the road that need to be taken. We need to be serious and focused for six games, and then we’ll see what comes of it,” he said.

The world’s fourth-ranked team were not tested by No. 14 South Korea. France had a 17-0 advantage in shots during the first half and 21-4 overall.

France applied pressure from the start on South Korea goalkeeper Kim Min-jung.

Le Sommer scored in the ninth minute off a cross from Henry, the earliest in a Women’s World Cup opener.

Griedge Mbock Bathy appeared to score in the 30th minute, but the goal was disallowed in a video review, technology also used by FIFA at last year’s men’s tournament in Russia.

“On the spur of the moment, you’re happy and when the goal’s disallowed it’s frustrating, but you have to switch quickly,” Bathy said. “We had a lot of time left and we had a lot of opportunities to score.”

Renard doubled the lead in the 35th from Gaetane Thiney’s corner kick. She made it 3-0 from Amel Majri’s corner kick near the end of the half.

“It really feels good on a personal level, but I think above all as a team, because these were very important goals,” Renard said. “It allowed us to go into the break with a three-goal lead.” Henry added her 12th international goal off a pass from Le Sommer in the 85th minute.

South Korea substitute Lee Mi-na had the best chance for her team on a breakaway in the 76th minute, but her shot went just wide.

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