Women’s Euro 2022 – 5 OL players, Henry and Le Sommer absent: But where did the Lyonnaise gang go?

There were a lot of us in my time, maybe even too many“. Camille Abily may laugh at the mention of her years in the France team with her friends from OL, she puts her finger on a not-so-discreet revolution that occurred with Les Bleues. Sonia Bompastor at the champions of France has done the calculations: despite the double championship-Champions League of Fenottes, there have never been so few players from the Lyon club in the France team.

For this Euro, the OL contingent is five players: Wendy Renard, the captain, Griedge Mbock, Selma Bacha, Melvine Malard and Delphine Cascarino. Either the same number as its Parisian rival. A real novelty as the weight of Lyon players with Les Bleues has always been considerable in the past. From 2011 to 2017, it was at least ten that the Fenottes landed at the Bleues. In 2019, with Corinne Deacon already, they were “only” 7. “It is sure that there could have been a little more with Amandine Henry and Eugénie Le Sommer who were among the selectable players but who are among the choices of Corinne Deaconexplains the OL assistant coach. There is also Amel Majri, who is injured but has just had a child, so we could have had more“.

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Apart from Majri, Henry and Le Sommer ended up paying for their latent conflict with Corinne Deacon after the failure of the 2019 World Cup. When it comes to explaining the disappearance of the Lyonnaises, it is above all these two names that come to mind. ‘spirit. The first, captain at the World Cup, had tried to sound the alarm by publicizing the communication difficulties of her coach. She thought she was in her role but her words, if they undoubtedly helped to break a taboo, ended up turning against her.

Corinne Deacon and the disappearance of certain emblematic OL players: Eugénie Le Sommer, Amandine Henry or Sarah Bouhaddi

Credit: Quentin Guichard

Deacon: “It was not me who created the crises”

We have been working for a while with this group, which has also qualified for the next 2023 World Cup.explained Deacon last May when his list of 23 was revealed. We have managed to find a balance for a few months with experience and youth“. For Le Sommer, the sporting argument is more understandable in view of his Lyon season, but his troubled relationship with Deacon also weighed a lot.

When talking about this post-Mondial 2019 sequence for RMC, the coach of Les Bleues admitted that the words of some, all Lyonnaises and publicly supported by Jean-Michel Aulas, had ended up putting her off. “What was hard to digest? Too many things, too many things, she explained. Dalready the failure of the competition, and all that happened behind it. And not always rightly so. But that’s just my point of view, we could debate it, but that would take too long. But at the same time, maybe it was a blessing in disguise. This allowed me to reflect well, to ask myself well. There has been a lot of development“.

In October 2021, already, she had explained that the Lyon lobbying had been too intense in her eyes: “it was not me who created the crises, the tensions or the conflicts, we call it what we want“. A way of making it understood that it is especially on the side of Lyon that we have increased the pressure on his personal case. In fact, because they weighed more than others at the Bleues, Wendy Renard, Amandine Henry, Eugénie Le Sommer or Sarah Bouhaddi have all taken the floor to burst the abscess. Only Lyonnaises of whom only the captain remains…

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Everything no longer necessarily goes through OL

But the reduction in the Lyon quota among the Bleues also responds to more structural logic. Because if OL still dominated the French and European season, the gap with the rest of the pack on the national level has never seemed so small.

For me, it rather demonstrates the fact that French football has diversifiedadvances Laure Boulleau, former international side and sports coordinator of PSG. There are many clubs that work much better. PSG, of course, which has assembled a huge team and which benefits from the Parisian vintage. But elsewhere too. Quality is rising to the surface everywhere because clubs are better structured. We also see players from Bordeaux (4 players called up, editor’s note). Corinne Deacon likes to bring back players who don’t just play at OL or Paris“.

We also have a lot of foreigners who bring a lot to OL, so obviously, even if we want to keep a French structure, it’s not always easy because we have to remain the best club in Europe.confirms Abily. For me, it shows that the other clubs are investing, building up, and above all are much more attractive than before, since before it was above all Lyon, Montpellier, Juvisy. OL invested a lot of resources so all the players wanted to come to Lyon, now it shows that the championship is progressing and that more and more clubs are attractive“.

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A more diverse group, less obvious automatisms

This choice has resulted in another consequence: now, some are no longer afraid to leave OL to go and grow up elsewhere. In the starting eleven of the Bleues, Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, Sakina Karchaoui or Eve Perisset notably turned away from the Rhône in the face of a blocked sporting situation. “The players evolve a lotconfirms Laura Georges, also in charge of Les Bleues and OL in her time. Some girls, for example, want playing time so go elsewhere if OL can’t offer it to them. They are also no longer afraid to go abroad, like Toletti, Tounkara or Peyraud-Magnin“.

The rebalancing of forces, wanted by Deacon, thus allowed the birth of a more homogeneous group in his eyes, where the echoes are rather good as for the group atmosphere. But if off the field, the coach made this choice, she could regret it. Because nothing replaces the common experience on the ground.

Look at what Barcelona are doing at the moment with a big frame in the Spanish team: when the players know each other very well, they have automatisms, and we have experienced it, it’s a big advantage in selection, where we have very little time to prepare for matchesbelieves Abily. I remember that with some players, we knew each other so well that it was an advantage for the France team“. But between the unity of his group and the technical-tactical consistency of his team, Deacon made his choice. To the great displeasure of the most illustrious Lyonnaises.

With Vincent Roussel

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