France sent a resounding message in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as they secured a spot in the quarter-finals, setting the stage for a mouthwatering showdown against Australia. Their blistering performance saw them dispatch Morocco with a crushing 4-0 defeat, abruptly ending the North African nation’s remarkable journey.
The French side, under the guidance of Herve Renard, unleashed a ferocious offensive onslaught, netting three goals in just eight minutes during a first-half frenzy. Veteran striker Eugenie Le Sommer shone brightly, contributing two goals, one in each half. Kadidiatou Diani and Kenza Dali also etched their names onto the scoresheet, sealing France’s dominance on the Adelaide field.
Renard, clearly pleased with his team’s triumph, expressed, “We fulfilled our objective. You always want a little bit more, but it’s fine.” France’s quest for redemption from their quarter-final exit in the 2019 tournament remains alive as they gear up to face co-hosts Australia in a quarter-final clash that promises to electrify fans. The victors of this pivotal match will go on to potentially meet either England or Colombia in the semi-finals, igniting the competition’s fervor even further.
Notably, this achievement places France on the precipice of matching their remarkable performance from 2011, when they reached the semi-finals. Renard’s aspirations are clear, as he emphasized, “We have matched our performance of four years ago, but our objective was to do better than we did in 2011, so we know what we have left to do.” The impending match against Australia poses a challenge, with Renard acknowledging, “We are capable of doing it but it won’t be easy, albeit not easy for either team.”
Meanwhile, Morocco’s valiant journey in the World Cup came to an end against the formidable French squad. The Moroccan team showcased their mettle by surpassing expectations, having rebounded from an initial 6-0 defeat to Germany on their World Cup debut. Victories against Colombia and South Korea propelled them to the knockout rounds, marking a historic accomplishment for the African nation.
In another quarter-final bid, England faced a nail-biting showdown against Nigeria in the round of 16. The Super Falcons aimed to etch their name in history by becoming the first African nation to secure a knockout win in the tournament. Although they came tantalizingly close, hitting the woodwork in both halves of regulation time, it was England’s resilience that ultimately prevailed.
The Lionesses were challenged when Lauren James received a late red card for an infraction against Michelle Alozie. Despite the odds, England showcased unwavering determination during extra time, forcing a penalty shootout following a goalless 120 minutes. Chloe Kelly, known for her winning goal in the European Championship final, emerged as the hero, sealing England’s quarter-final berth.
The Netherlands also solidified their presence in the quarter-finals, extinguishing South Africa’s historic run with a decisive 2-0 victory in Sydney.