Editor's note: This story appeared in the June 2015 edition of New England Soccer Journal. Now retired from international soccer, former Boston College standout Laura Georges is an ambassador for the Women's World Cup and is the Secretary General at the French Football Federation (FFF). The 2019 tournament, of course, is being held in France.
On a chilly February evening in Brittany, France reinforced its status as a Women’s World Cup favorite by beating the United States for the first time. But as summer begins in Canada, “Les Bleues” face the daunting prospect of meeting such high expectations and winning their first major international title.
Considered one of the world’s most technically skilled teams, the French have knocked on the door for several years, finishing fourth at both the 2011 World Cup and 2012 Olympics, and falling in the Euro 2013 quarterfinals on penalties after being the lone unblemished side in group play. With so many top players in their prime, France couldn’t ask for a much better chance to break through at last.
“This is their tournament to shine and really prove a lot of people wrong,” said former Breakers striker Kelly Smith, a Fox Soccer analyst for the World Cup. “It would seem to me they’d always get to like the semifinal or quarterfinal and then not manage to win and get through. Whereas now I feel like they’ve got that experience of playing in those tournaments, playing in big games. They’ve got big-game players in (Louisa) Necib, (Eugénie) Le Sommer, (Gaëtane) Thiney. Just look at their strength and depth. I think they could do something special.”