ORLEANS – France continued preparations for their charge for Women’s World Cup glory with a stuttering but eventually comprehensive 3-0 win over Thailand on Saturday.
Substitute Kadidiatou Diani was the star for the much-changed ‘Les Bleues’, who have never won the World Cup before, with a second-half brace that saw a France team shorn of the majority of its Lyon stars cruise to victory despite missing two penalties after the break.
The French are hosting the World Cup, which kicks off in just under two weeks, and are among the favourites for the tournament given the number of their players that play for Europe’s best club side Lyon – who hammered Barcelona 4-1 to win their fourth straight Women’s Champions League last week.
However at kickoff, Delphine Cascarino, who came on as a late substitute against Barca, was the only starter from Lyon’s cast of stars.
Her teammates Wendie Renard, Griedge Mbock Bathy, Amel Majri, Amandine Henry and goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi were all substitutes, while attacker Eugenie Le Sommer was out injured.
However Corinne Diacre’s side nonetheless made short work of the Thais, ranked 34 in the world and not taking part in the World Cup, despite a wasteful display.
They dominated from the off but it took them until the 61st minute to open the scoring, Elise Bussaglia slotting home nicely from the left.
France then missed their first penalty when Grace Geyoro crashed her spot-kick against the bar, before Diani cheekily pinched the ball off Sudarat Chuchuen and rolled home her first with 12 minutes left.
Six minutes later Geyoro then won the second penalty, which Eve Perisset saw well-saved by Thailand stopper Sukanya Chor.
However Paris Saint-Germain’s Perisset made up for that mistake by laying on Diani to score her second and make the scoreline more respectable for a team gunning to emulate the exploits of France’s male World Cup winners in Russia last year.