‘Not true!’ Gracious France boss’ ‘tribute to Australia’ after World Cup elimination

A gracious France boss Herve Renard shut down talk that his Les Bleues side had unperformed in Australia by declaring “I am going to pay tribute to Australia” instead.  

Renard, who became the first person to win a match at both the male and female World Cups, momentarily belied a penalty claim against Caitlin Foord that did not go his side’s way, but otherwise pointed to the “Goliath” in Australia’s goal, and millimetres that make this sport so compelling. 

“The only one who has got no pressure on their shoulders is the winner at the end of the day,” he answered, when asked about expectations back home, given France could not improve on their 2019 place.

“We were a couple of centimetres out and if you are objective, you know this … 

“I won’t allow you to say the French team were not good enough. Not true. 

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“The girls were exceptional. We played a quarter-final against an entire nation, it was not a walk in the park. 

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France players watch as Cortnee Vine of Australia takes the final winning penalty

“I am going to pay tribute to Australia, I am not going to answer this question.” 

When asked for his assessment of the victorious hosts, he declared: “I am sure you can win this World Cup”. 

“Yes, it is a physical team, waiting most of the time for his opponent, like the transition, counter attack because they are really fast.

“A good team this evening; it was a 50-50, but the destiny chose Australia, so I am wishing you all the best.

I just would like to repeat one more time, this competition was fantastic for us, beautiful cities, beautiful stadiums, the atmosphere was fantastic. It was a shame for us to go home, but all the best to you; I am sure you can win this World Cup.

Renard made the brave call to change goalkeepers for the shootout, but, he said, the extremities and the drama of the penalties vindicated his decision. 

“Yes it was a plan for the penalty shootout, we knew always the qualities of Solene Durand… she is amazing on the penalty shootout, you can see, she stopped three! 

So, if we were winning this evening, I was the king of the world, but this evening I am nothing, because we lost some millimetres, this is football, but also why we love this football. 

“All the people watching this game this evening were watching some action for Australia, some action for France, good goalkeeper, good players on field, a fantastic image of women’s football. We are not the winners this evening but we are proud of the competition.”

In his assessment of the quarter-final, Renard singled out Mackenzie Arnold for her performance in goal.

“We came up against a Goliath of a goalie, what a game, both in normal time but also in extra-time and also in the penalty shootout even though we know she hit the post,” he said.

“I would like to congratulate the goalkeeper, she was the winning factor for this team.

A wonderful penalty shoot, but when I talk about things that didn’t go our way, a handball in the box that didn’t go our way.

“But let’s not cry about spilt milk … we aren’t going to say yes to everything, we’re not lambs going with the flow, I’m not looking for excuses but I am saying it could have been what prevented us from qualifying.” 

He added: “Now we are looking forward, organising on the next year, the Olympic Games in Paris.

We are waiting for you, we will have our revenge.