Wednesday, July 13, France will battle the United States in FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals to determine which nation will challenge either Japan or Sweden in the final to be 2011 World Cup Champion. France defeated England in penalties in quarterfinals after finishing second to Germany in Group A with two wins and a loss to Germany. Germany has since been eliminated by Japan.
Under coach Bruni Bini, who emphasizes skill over athleticism, and strong support from the French FA, France has developed one of the strongest and deepest teams in World Cup 2011.
France looking to redeem national World Cup stature
France is looking to redeem the disgrace of their Men’s National Team in 2010 World Cup Africa, who nosedived from the 2006 World Cup finals versus Italy to failing to advance from their World Cup group in 2010. Much to the delight of paparazzi, the 2010 French team went on strike and refused to practice in protest of their coach Raymond Domenech, who sent Nicolas Anelka back to France for swearing at him. French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent his sports minister to South Africa to intervene and restore order to the team, which had devolved to public tantrums.
France National Team’s defender Sonia Bompastor, of FCF Olympique Lyonnais, formerly of the WPS Washington Freedom, was outraged at the conduct of the 2010 Men’s World Cup squad, who she described as “a big, big, shame for all the people in France.”
“I was so embarrassed about what they did,” Bompastor told me right after the French Men’s National Team meltdown last July. “We were so upset because when you play for the National Team, when you have a chance to wear the jersey, every time you have to step on the field and be proud and play the best you can. They didn’t do that and even worse, they didn’t practice one day.
I think they disrespect French people and everyone in France. Actually, right now in France it’s a big, big mess because of what they did.”
Bompastor, the two-time top player of the two-time French Championship winner Olympic Lyonnais who has 131 caps and 16 goals, will look to redeem the honor of France in the eyes of the world. Bompastor has an excellent understanding of the U.S. Women’s National Team, who all play in the WPS with the exception of Ali Krieger, who played in Germany.
Bompastor played with Abby Wambach and the Washington Freedom in 2009 and 2010. She scored four goals, added six assists and earned WPS Player of the Month (May) honors in 2009 and scored two goals, added five assists, and earned WPS Player of the Week honors in 2010.
In September 2010, Washington Freedom honored Bompastor’s request and granted her a mutual termination of her contract in light of the approaching 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup to eliminate transatlantic travel between pre-World Cup training camps with her national team. Olympique Lyonnaise made a verbal pre-agreement to release Bompastor so that she may return to WPS at the conclusion of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Because of the folding of Washington Freedom, Bompastor is now a free agent.
France World Cup Stats
Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure have each scored two goals.
Laura Georges, Camille Abily, Elodie Thomis, and Elise Bussaglia have each scored one goal.
Sandrine Soubeyrand has added two assists
Eugenie Le Sommer, Camille Abily and Louisa Necib have each added one assist.
France Group A results
France 1-0 Nigeria
France 4-0 Canada
France 2-4 Germany
France 4-3 England (Pks)
Click on the slideshow at the left or click here to see a photo gallery of the women of the France Women’s National Team, Les Bleues.
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal: France-USA – Wednesday, July 13: 11:30 a.m. ET: ESPN, Galavasion, ESPN3.com. ESPN pre-game show 11:00 a.m.
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