“Even if the French defense is the tightest of this Euro (20.3 goals conceded on average over 6 matches), won’t the key against Norway also be your performance in attack?
It will be a mixture of the two. But we have to make it a point of honor to defend well. I feel that the Norwegians are in maximum concentration on how they will beat this French defense. They think very hard about their attack, so we also have to think a lot about our defense. I thought about how, now, the opponent wonders how to beat the French defense. The old ones, me in particular, we switched to this: how can we beat ourselves? The faults of our defense. That’s what the Norwegians will try to do, they will try to find our weak points and I think we have them.
What are the weak points of the French defense?
I won’t say it now (laugh) ! But we have some and they will try to sting us on it, they think that if they succeed we will slip up in attack, we will not be lucid. So we will be on 50/50 between defense and attack, whereas usually we are on 60/40. We will do everything to counter them.
What do you think of this team from Norway?
She is very good. Against Denmark (Wednesday 31-29 defeat at the end of the main round), she fell on an excellent Sandra Toft (12 saves). But I’m afraid of Norway in what I call the Final Four: they have players capable of switching at once and getting up to speed immediately. We will have a Nora Mork who, for the moment, here she is, but that of the semi-finals and final, we know how very strong she can be. We know Oftedal, Solberg, Lunde in those moments. So I expect a completely different Norwegian team.
“We haven’t had the adversity and the matches with this rhythm that the Norwegians have had (since the start of the Euro). There, we may find ourselves in something that we haven’t had yet, this will be the important parameter on which we will have to pay attention
Until then, the France team has made the matches “easy”, has not been rushed. Is the team ready for that against Norway?
I hope. That’s going to be the real question. I have the impression that we are in the Champions League configuration: a strong pool, one less. When those of the “weak” group arrive to play the teams of that of the very strong group, they break their teeth. I’m not saying that our group was weak, we made the matches easy because we played good teams, the Netherlands and Germany. Nevertheless, we did not have the adversity and the matches with this rhythm that the Norwegians had. There, we will perhaps find ourselves in something that we haven’t had yet, this will be the important parameter on which we will have to pay attention.
If you were to learn a lesson from the collapse in the 2021 World Cup finalwhere you were leading at the break (16-12, before losing (29-22)?
I don’t like the term “collapse”. We were put in difficulty by a goalkeeper (Silje Solberg, 12 saves) and their X factor, Henny Reistad (6 goals), an incredible player (top scorer in Norway before this semi-final with 38 goals at 69%). She uses the impact of the defender, she stores all this energy to recover from the jump, from the strength. She comes out of the profile of a Norwegian player: she is tall (1.81 m) and super athletic. I do not understand that, in some competitions, she did not have the title of MVP. So, as a lesson to be learned: not the first that we have been put in difficulty by Solberg. We had this moment of air gap at the end of the first period (16-10, 29th), change, the famous 6 against 4 (double numerical inferiority), we are unable to score a goal, they come back, so at instead of arriving at half-time at +8 or +9, we arrive at +4 (16-12), the switch is there.
Isn’t this a trauma for the team?
No way. On this match, the Norwegians understood that that’s it, the France team was at their level. In their heads now it’s clear: we’re going to stop thinking that in 2017, for example, it’s not a combination of circumstances that they were world champions. That in 2018, it was us, the Norwegians, who weren’t good. No, now they have understood: that’s it, the French women are there. For them too, it was a moment of change: the French now have ambition and feel capable of beating us. We are calm, we are well.
Since when does France say that?
Since 2017. Even if we lose (after) but we know we can beat them, even if we lose. In 2017, gold was reaching out to them, they had been imperial throughout the competition except that they fell on the France team. We knew that with this new flow, these new players who arrived, we had the thing. Now we have to do it right. »