Women's International Challenge Match
France 1-0 Scotland
Stade Marcel Picot, Nancy
Thursday 28th May 2015
National Team Coach Anna Signeul says she was encouraged by her team’s performance during the 1-0 loss to FIFA 2015 World Cup qualifiers France in Nancy.
A first-half header courtesy of PSG’s Marie Laure Delie was all that could separate the countries on a night that showcased Scotland’s defensive capabilities.
The backline – marshalled by captain Ifeoma Dieke – held up well to the home side’s pressure and showed confidence in front of a country who are amongst the favourites to clinch a winner’s medal in Canada this summer.
Speaking to the Scottish FA after the game, Anna said: “We were very happy with the performance. It started off at a furious tempo and we really had a hard first 10 to 15 minutes but we came into the game and we were able to keep the ball a bit better.
“Unfortunately it was during that spell when we were getting up the park we conceded the goal after a quick attack on the left hand side.
“In the second half we defended well and we also managed to keep the ball and create some set pieces. So we can be happy.”
With Seattle Reign pair Kim Little & Rachel Corsie not travelling to Nancy spaces were opened up in the starting XI for those who didn't start in the game vs. Australia in April.
Glasgow City’s Joanne Love was called into midfield with starts for Emma Mitchell and Fiona Brown. Vittsjö GIK’s Shannon Lynn was also handed a start between the sticks for her 12th international cap.
Anna believes competition for places in the squad has never been higher with a few months to go until the start of the Euro 2017 qualifiers.
She said: “It’s great for the players to see we can achieve such a great performance without Kim and Rachel. I think that shows the door is open for others and there are definitely others knocking on the door to be in this squad.
“It was competitive last campaign but this campaign will be really really competitive. With more depth in the squad it means we aren’t so vulnerable. Competition is the best motivation for working hard. The players should think 'If I want to be on the pitch I need to really work hard'.”
The French are currently ranked 3rd in the FIFA World Rankings and the National Team Coach was proud of the way her squad stood up to a team who she thinks could go all the way during this summer’s finals:
“I think that playing a game like this is like getting a benchmark of where we are. Seeing the fitness, technique and speed; you get a bit humble and you think, okay we’re good but we have a bit to go.
“We are not a France yet but this French team can win the World Cup, that’s how good they are. They just need to make sure they score goals with the possession they have.”