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France names 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup team: A fan’s report
France has named its final roster for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. France is only making its second World Cup appearance. The French last played in the World Cup in 2003 and finished the group stage with a 1-1-1 record. France went through its qualifying tournament undefeated and scored 53 goals in 12 matches. The French team also conceded only two goals in those matches.
Despite the lack of World Cup matches, manager Bruno Bini will bring an experienced team to Germany. Twelve of the 21 players have won at least 40 international caps for France. After scoring 12 goals in the qualifying tournament, forward Gaetane Thiney is second on the roster with 19 international goals. The team's leading scorer, Marie-Laure Delie, scored nine goals in the tournament and has 21 international goals. Their impressive qualification to this year's World Cup means that no team should take the French lightly in Germany.
However, France has an uphill battle ahead of it to make it out of the group stage in Germany. Group A is made up of back-to-back World Cup champion Germany, 2010 CONCACAF Gold Cup winner Canada, and Nigeria. Canada only missed the initial World Cup in 1991. Nigeria has qualified for every World Cup and was the first African team to make it to the quarterfinals in 1999. France will play Nigeria on June 26, Canada on June 30 and Germany on July 5.
France missed out on qualifying for the quarterfinal round in 2003 based on goal differential. While the 2003 team only scored two goals in three group matches, I expect the 2011 squad to top that total and make a run for second place in the group.
Here's the complete France 2011 Women's World Cup roster (current team in brackets):
Goalkeepers: Celine Deville (Montpellier), Berangere Sapowicz (Paris St.-Germain), Laetitia Phillipe (Montpellier)
Defenders: Wendie Renard (FCF Lyon), Laura Georges (FCF Lyon), Ophelie Meilleroux (Montpellier), Corine Franco (FCF Lyon), Sonia Bompastor (FCF Lyon), Laure Lepallieur (Paris St.-Germain), Sabrina Vigeur (FCF Lyon)
Midfielders: Laure Boulleau (Paris St.-Germain), Sandrine Soubeyrand (Juvisy), Camile Abily (FCF Lyon), Caroline Pizzala (Paris St.-Germain), Louisa Necib (FCF Lyon), Elise Bussaglia (Paris St.-Germain)
Forwards: Eugenie Le Sommer (FCF Lyon), Elodie Thomis (FCF Lyon), Gaetane Thiney (Juvisy), Marie-Laure Delie (Montpellier), Sandrine Bretigny (FCF Lyon)
As a soccer fan, Group A will be worth watching for Germany alone. However, France has a team with the possibility to provide some unexpected fireworks in the group.
More from Patrick Johnston:
France roster FIFA.com
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