After the card achieved in Greece (10-0), Friday, for the entry into contention of the Blue in the qualification campaign for the 2023 World Cup, we believed perhaps a little too quickly that the ticket for the Australia and New Zealand was already in the pocket. The players of Corinne Deacon understood this Tuesday in the small town of Murska Sobota, in the north-east of Slovenia, that the path was not so clear. They had to work to pull off a success (3-2) against a Slovenian team more catchy than its distant rank in the FIFA rankings (49th) suggested. Majri scored the winning goal from the penalty spot at the very end of the game.
Without their new captain Wendie Renard, preserved after feeling an discomfort in the right thigh on Monday in training, the Blue quickly put pressure in the Slovenian camp, but lacked precision against a well-established team. Worse, they were picked on the first against Slovenia (20th, see below), and displayed a great defensive feverishness which resulted in other clear chances from Zver (25th) and Prasnikar (41st). . In the meantime, the inevitable Marie-Antoinette Katoto had equalized (28th, see below), but the significant technical waste tricolor, on a complicated lawn, did not allow the Blue to continue.
You would have thought that the physique would make the difference in the second half, but Slovenia continued to exist in the block. It was finally the entry of Sandy Baltimore (56th) that allowed the French to take the advantage, when the Parisian rocket made a good sequence on the left side to allow Katoto to sign a double (60th). But the contorted face of Corinne Deacon in the last moments testified to the difficulties of the Blue. After two big chances (76th, 84th), Slovenia came back on a penalty from the excellent Zver, conceded by Sakina Karchaoui (88th). It took another penalty, obtained and transformed by Amel Majri (90th 4), to avoid a draw that would have stained.
After her first international treble in Greece, Marie-Antoinette Katoto again carried the French attack in Slovenia. She equalized with a beautiful uncrossed header on a free kick from Amel Majri (28th), and signed a brace with a new header at the right time, on a cross from Sandy Baltimore (60th). “MAK” is going through a good period in the selection, with 10 goals in its last 6 caps (15 goals in 19 caps in total).
While outrageously dominating the start of the match, the France team conceded the opener, to everyone’s surprise. Slovenia scored on their first opportunity thanks to Lara Prasnikar (20th), part behind Elisa De Almeida and a disorganized defense. Les Bleues had not conceded a goal in a qualifying match (for the Euro or the World Cup) since September 2014 (3-1 victory against Finland in Calais) and remained on a series of 17 clean sheets on these encounters. They even cracked a second time in the second half, from a penalty (88th).