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Women's Nations League: no first title for the Blues, beaten in the final by Spain

The challenge was too great: still in search of a first major title, the French women's team suffered the law of world champions Spanish Wednesday à Sevilla in the Nations League final (2-0), & five months from the ultimate objective of the Paris Olympics.

Les Bleues, who were playing their first final of an international competition after a solid victory against Germany in the semi-final (2-1), once again came across someone stronger than them.

As against Australia in the quarter-finals of the 2023 World Cup, or in the past against the United States, Hervé Renard's players could only note that a gap still separated them from the very big nations.

Because Spain, the first team in the FIFA rankings, is indeed one.

All the more so thanks to this first title in the League of Nations, synonymous with an unprecedented double six months after their world coronation in Sydney in front of England, whose celebration had been spoiled by the forced kiss of the ex-president of the Spanish Federation Luis Rubiales on Jenni Hermoso, who had caused a wave of international indignation.

A colossal revenge for the La Roja players after weeks of standoff against those responsible for the Spanish football, and years of struggle for more recognition of their sport.

Women's Nations League: no first title for the Blues, beaten in the final by Spain

The joy of the Spanish women and the disappointment of the French Eugénie le Sommer (d) after the final of the Nations League, February 28, 2024 in Seville © AFP – FRANCK FIFE

The match is still not won and the stands are still far from being as full as their male counterparts, despite a record attendance for a women's match with 32,657 spectators, in an Olympic stadium in La Cartuja which can accommodate 57,000.

But Jenni Hermoso and her teammates demonstrated, as the Tigres striker wished at a press conference, that they were “champions in every sense of the word” .

– Bonmati, obviously –

Totally dominated technically and physically, the Blues simply did not have existed in the encounter and could do nothing except try to resist the Iberian attacks.

Women's Nations League: no first title for the Blues, beaten in the final by Spain

Frenchwoman Griedge Mbock (d) tackles Spanish Athenea del Castillo, February 28, 2024 in Seville © AFP – JORGE GUERRERO

And the central hinge, once again composed of Griedge Mbock and Maëlle Lakrar due to the loss of captain Wendie Renard, who until now managed to muzzle the nugget of FC Barcelona Salma Paralluelo, ended up cracking at the half-hour mark.

The Ballon d'Or Aitana Bonmati did what is expected of great players in major events: being there at the right place at the right time to open the score (33rd, 1-0) on a cross from Olga Carmona.

Logically led, the French team, frustrated and without a solution like captain Eugénie Le Sommer, returned headlong to the locker room without any shot attempted.

The La Roja players, pushed by the “España, España” of thousands of Andalusian families, continued to develop their passing game until doubling the lead in the second half with a new placed attack concluded by Mariona Caldentey (53rd, 2 -0) in the middle of an overly passive defense.

Women's Nations League: no first title for the Blues, beaten in the final by Spain

Les Bleues coach Hervé Renard during the match against Spain, February 28, 2024 in Seville © AFP – FRANCK FIFE

It then took two good outings from Juventus goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin at the feet of Paralluelo to prevent the match from turning into a demonstration (54th, 84th).

The French awakening did not take place, and the game ended under the “olé” of the Andalusian public, who exulted at the final whistle, ready to celebrate a second times its champions.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116