France head and shoulders above the rest in World Cup 2019 opener

9 Jun

The Road to France finally reached its destination in Parc des Princes, Paris on Friday. 552 players. Twenty-four teams. Seven weeks. One trophy. Who will rise the highest? Who will suffer the hardest? Who will dare to shine the brightest, the longest? Bang those drums and let World Cup 2019 begin! Embed from Getty Images And begin it did in grand FIFA style too … with early news of a presidential arrest over corruption charges. La vache! No, not that president. And no, not that one either. It was CAF President and FIFA Vice-President Ahmad Ahmad and the charges related to his possible misuse of funds to purchase sports equipment. At least the concern is football-related, right? No. He’s been released without formal charges but will have to remain in Paris under house arrest should the investigation continue. FIFA launched their own internal ethics investigation earlier this year over more of his misdeeds and it’s still on-going. But look, Google made a doodle: [google image attached] Hahaha, I crack myself up (more on the doodles in a separate post).

Opening Ceremony

It wouldn’t be a World Cup without some opening ceremony filler. The (un)lucky performer this year was French singer Jain with a live-to-Memorex situation. Embed from Getty Images I don’t know her either and the songs were a bit bland but HELLO dancers in the round! Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Loads of people dressed in uniforms based on each country’s flag were running around in different formations as well. This was the best one: Embed from Getty Images There were planes flying over the stadium too. Yes, I am here to bring you all this exciting coverage.

Pre-match festivities

No presidential thumbs up. No presidential thumbs up. Flip a beret. Exhale cigarette smoke. BUT NOT A PRESIDENTIAL THUMBS UP. Embed from Getty Images Safe bet these are not the same fans who told the Olympique Lyon players to get back to the kitchen a couple years ago? Embed from Getty Images South Korea is in the house! Embed from Getty Images Drogba’s here for it Embed from Getty Images Kaka’s here too! Embed from Getty Images Mbappe is … well, he’s somewhere. Would it have killed him to be there in person? All the people who bought tickets were here for it. Embed from Getty Images Even those who encountered issues at the gate. Yes, FIFA’s ticketing “fiasco” took on a new dimension on game day. Some people found out their tickets had been reissued with new bar codes rendering their printed copies useless. La vache!

Match overview

France Embed from Getty Images South Korea Embed from Getty Images Location: Parc des Princes, Paris Referee: Claudia Umpiérrez (Uruguay) Embed from Getty Images Diversity matters. Inclusion matters. I smiled so hard watching Henry and this little girl’s interactions in the tunnel and on the pitch. Embed from Getty Images Btw, the French team mascots were singing their little hearts out so joyfully it would have made Buffon proud.

Match details

France came to play and they swarmed South Korea from the whistle. The right side proved joyful and they were relentless. Le Sommer got a first taste for goal 5′ in but sent it wide. Four minutes later she made no mistake with a quick draw goal down off the crossbar. 1-0 France. 

While Le Sommier’s was busy celebrating her goal, Henry and Thieny were getting in some swing dancing off to the side. Embed from Getty Images France’s aggression kept South Korea from getting out of their own half until the 16′ mark. South Korea got their first corner around 20′ but it’s best forgotten as Jung Seol-bin whipped it in the side netting. France rushed back and with a few moves Renard made a nifty pass-through to Mbock Bathy to pounce on. 2-0 France. Or, is it? Embed from Getty Images VAR! 27 minutes into the first half of the first match of the World Cup. Embed from Getty Images The correct call. 1-0 France. If you think this sparked an even hotter fire in France, you are correct. Renard used her 6’1” frame to an extreme advantage and avenged the VAR decision with a solid header from Thiney’s corner kick. 2-0 France. For real. Embed from Getty Images And Renard wasn’t done. Into extra time and a poor corner clearance by South Korea offered Renard another header opportunity. Of course she took it. Unless you have the defensive timing of Virgil Van Dijk, the aggression of Sergio Ramos, or the vertical of Cristiano, you’re not going to beat Renard to a header. Embed from Getty Images 3-0 France. End of the first half. South Korea started the second half with an attitude of containment. They finally got a shot on goal at the 72’ mark. Kang Chaerim sent her shot well over but positive play nonetheless. Embed from Getty Images Renard almost ruined her brace joy by misjudging a high ball in France’s end and gifting Lee Mi-na a great scoring opportunity. Which was not to be, as she scuffed the ball just wide. Embed from Getty Images Captain Henry then decided to cap the day with a beauty of a goal at 85’. Game over. Embed from Getty Images Final result: 4-0 France Player of the Match: Wendie Renard FRA Hb&Hb Player of the Match: Delphine Cascarino FRA

Final thoughts

South Korea’s struggles were more surprising than I expected. But they are without their top goalkeeper who suffered an injury over a month ago. Like Canada in 2015, they have midfielders covering defensive positions who were shaky at best. Leading scorer Ji So-yun was ineffective. This is not to say South Korea can’t recover. They played the host nation who haven’t lost in 14 straight matches right out of the gate. That kind of pressure wouldn’t be easy for any squad. They have time to recoup and rebuild their confidence. France, well, I mean, they didn’t choke. But no one expected them to at this point. They had some miscues which maybe could have been exploited by a higher performing team. The team looks more cohesive, more focused than I’ve seen them in a good while which bodes well. I’m looking forward to seeing if they can sustain both the further they progress. Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images


– Teri

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: