Le Sommer nets brace, Les Bleues qualify for last 8| SolSportHQ
Le Sommer nets brace, Diani & Dali both score, Les Bleues knock out Morocco to qualify for the last 8, and will fave the Matildas in the quarter-final.
Kadidiatou Diani and Eugenie Le Sommer played starring roles as France defeated Morocco 4-0 in the Women’s World Cup to set up a quarter-final clash with Australia.
Herve Renard’s side had put six past Panama in their final Group F game and, with the return of several stars free from the shackles of possible suspension, got back on their bike in Adelaide.
In came Kenza Dali, Sakina Karchaoui, Le Sommer and Wendie Renard – the quartet who, alongside Diani, blew away their opponents with three goals in the space of nine first-half minutes.
The first goal came in the 15th minute, when Diani headed in from Karchaoui’s deft cross. Minutes later, the Olympique Lyon forward acted as a provider by finding Dali in the box, who was just as dogged in front of goal.
Le Sommer decided she wanted in on the fun too, and was given a helping hand by Nesryne El Chad. The Lille defender gifted her the ball in the box after being hurried by Diani, and France’s record goalscorer did not need to be told what to do next.
While the second half was far more measured, France continued to apply the pressure, and soon the Moroccan defence caved one final time to allow Le Sommer to grab her second of the game via a nod-in at the far post.
The Atlas Lionesses kept pushing on for a chance to get onto the scoresheet; Anissa Lahmari and Ibtissam Jraidi came closest but produced nothing concrete enough to sway Les Bleues’ imposing defence.
How France beat Morocco
France started too fast and too furiously for the Moroccans to ever have a hope of upsetting last year’s European Championship quarter-finalists.
Sandie Toletti and Karchaoui led the midfield dance in the game’s opening stages; they knew precisely when to release the ball, where to ping it to, and what kind of overlaps were being made ahead of them.
Operating in a fluid 4-2-3-1 meant defending within the lines was practically impossible. At times, the Moroccan defence could do nothing but watch Diani and her team-mates shimmy their way towards the goal.
Something had to change for the Atlas Lionesses – and it did. Reynald Pedros’ half-time talk worked a trick, and his team came out punching in the second half.
Sakina Ouzraoui Diki kicked things off with a sumptuous pass that set Jraidi off behind the France defence. Peyraud-Magnin was quick to swallow up the ball, but there was more to defend moments later.
Ghizlane Chebbak got stuck in with a fiery cross from the left that dissected the box but did not find a single Moroccan head.
The signs of encouragement continued as Morocco carried on their charge against the opposing goal. But France made their moments in front of goal count, as Le Sommer tapped in her second of the game after meeting Vicki Becho’s fiery cross.
Just like her team, she was not hesitant and now the veteran midfielder has the chance to be a part of history.
France, having never progressed past the quarter-finals of any competition – falling at that hurdle in 2011, the 2012 Olympics, and last summer’s Euros – have breezed past Morocco. Australia might be awaiting the same fate, come this Saturday.
France will face Australia in the quarter-finals on Saturday August 12, with kick-off at 8am.
What is the schedule?
The round of 16 takes place from August 5 to August 8 with eight games being played across Australia and New Zealand.
The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for August 11 and 12.
The first semi-final will then be played on August 15 in Auckland, with the other semi-final taking place on August 16 at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final on August 20.
A third-place play-off will be played the day before the final on August 19 in Brisbane.
France XI: W. Renard, E. Le Sommer, K. Dali, K. Diani, S. Toletti, S. Karchaoui, E. Périsset, G. Geyoro, P. Peyraud Magnin, S. Bacha, É. De Almeida
Subs: V. Asseyi, S. Durand, A. Majri, A. Tounkara, C. Matéo, M. Lakrar, L. Le Garrec, E. Cascarino, Naomie Feller, V. Becho, Laurina Fazer, C. Picaud
Morocco XI: E. Nakkach, A. Lahmari, Sakina Ouzraoui, Nesryne El Chad, Fatima Tagnaout, Khadija Er-Rmichi, Zineb Redouani, Hanane Aït El Haj, Ghizlane Chebbak, Ibtissam Jraïdi, Nouhaila Benzina
Subs: R. Ayane, I. Arouaissa, Yasmin Mrabet, Sara Kassi, Sabah Seghir, Salma Amani, Najat Badri, Sofia Bouftini, Assia Zouhair, Rkia Mazrouaï, Kenza Chapelle, Fatima Zohra Gharbi