even the Azzurri want their star

During the victory (3-1) against Brazil, November 10, at Allianz Riviera of Nice.
During the victory (3-1) against Brazil, November 10, at Allianz Riviera of Nice. ERIC GAILLARD / AI / REUTERS / PANORAMIC

It is July 8, 2019, the Champs-Elysées are blacks of people. A double-decker bus goes down Paris Avenue, no one orders the driver to accelerate the movement. The president, Emmanuel Macron, can wait for the reception, the watch ladies are called Amandine Henry, Wendie Renard, Eugenie Le Sommer and their teammates.

The day before, in Lyon, on the stage of the Lights, they became champions of the football world against the American favorites. Their coach, Corinne Deacon, was not presumptuous when he published the ambitions in December 2018. "At home or anywhere else, when we start a competition, it's to win."

This is still only a dream. Before trying to win, France will organize the 8th for the first timeis edition of the Women's World Cup, from 7 June to 7 July 2019, the draw will take place this Saturday, 8 December in Boulogne-Billancourt. And in itself, it is already a first victory for this long-ignored practice, if not despised in the country.

It is understood, for critics, that women's football is neither football nor women. The chronicler and polemicist Pierre Ménès could still say in 2013: "Before [dans le foot féminin], you had big swings that were certainly too bad to go to the disco on Saturday night. Today it has nothing to do, they have progressed (…). But compared to a men's team, that slab is worth! "

All the lights on the green

Five years later, Canal + – the group in which Ménès collaborates – offers every weekend two matches of the French league. The TF1 will broadcast 25 World Cup matches this summer, including all matches of the French team. Who could have imagined it ten years ago?

The effervescence is palpable, the media increasingly demanding, the press service of the French Football Federation (FFF) now filters maintenance requests. In 2009, the coach of the era, Bruno Bini, still regretted "Sports journalists do not find women's football worthy of interest".

Infographics The world

In the meantime, there were 4is placed at the 2011 World Championships in Germany, this Homeric victory against England in the quarterfinals, the romantic defeat against the untouchable Americans at the gates of the final.

While French football is still recovering its wounds a year after the Knysna mutiny (with the strike during World South Africa), these "girls" offer him a corner of blue sky and a lot of freshness. France discovered the refined technique of Louisa Necib, the massacre of Elise Bussaglia, teacher of trade at the time, or the insurance Laura George in defense.

Absent from the first three editions, between 1991 and 1999, the blue ones have been installed since the elite of the nations that count. All the lights are green Practice is becoming more democratic and the number of licensees is exploding. When he arrived at the head of the FFF in 2011, Noël Le Graët entrusted a feminization plan to former international Brigitte Henriques. The goal was to reach 100,000 licensed players in France, against the 54,000 of the era – and it was exceeded in February 2016. Today there are 165,000 licensed.

Even the window shines. On the club side, Olympique Lyonnais won the Champions League five times (2011, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018) and lost once in the final (2013), just like Paris-Saint-Germain, twice defeated in the final phase of the top European competition (2015 and 2017).

Only the spark is missing to speed up the movement, to finally enter the audience's heart, to create a story. In order for the party to be as beautiful as possible and the explosion does not fall too quickly, the captain's teammates, Amandine Henry, received the semi-finals by mission order.

But in the background, they obviously dream of imitating 1998 and 2018, of hanging a star of the world champion in their shirt. Sometimes it's nice to copy on guys too.

Calendar, host cities, retransmissions

The Women's World Cup, whose draw will take place on Saturday 8 December, will take place in France from Friday 7 June to Sunday 7 July 2019. The 24 teams will be divided into six groups. The group stage will take place until 20 June. The knockout stages on 22, 23, 24 and 25 June. The quarterfinals of 27, 28 and 29 June. The semi-finals on July 2nd and 3rd and the final on 7th.

Nine cities were selected: Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes. The opening meeting will be held in Paris, the semi-finals and the final in Lyon.

The matches will be broadcast jointly by TF1 and Canal +. The TF1 Group will offer the 25 best posters in exclusive and clear, including all Blue games. For its part, Canal + will broadcast all meetings for its subscribers, 52 games.

Alexandre Pedro

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