Until its start in the Olympic tournament, against Colombia on July 25 in Décines-Charpieu (Rhône), the French women’s football team does not plan to be idle. On the program: six qualifying matches for Euro 2025 between April 5 and July 16, including two double confrontations against big names from the Old Continent – ​​Sweden and England. “It’s hard to plan for the Olympics [Olympic Games], the preparation is special. It will be done with very intense and decisive matches, recognizes the vice-captain of the Bleues, Eugénie Le Sommer. We can’t calculate and it’s more complicated to try things. »

Friday April 5, Hervé Renard’s players host Ireland in Metz (kick-off at 9:10 p.m.). Four days later, they travel to the Scandinavians, third in the 2023 World Cup. Two prestigious clashes will follow, on May 31 and June 4, against the Three Lionesses, reigning European champions and World Cup finalists in Australia. Then, they will return to Sweden on July 12, before closing the sequence, on the 16th, against the Girls in Green in Dublin, less than ten days, therefore, before the start of the Games.

To this busy schedule, many French internationals will also have to add crucial club deadlines. The Champions League for the players of Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyonnais, opposed in the semi-finals on April 21 and 28, and the final of which will be played on May 25. But also the brand new D1 Arkema playoffs, on May 12 and 17, for the selected teams playing in one of the four best teams of the season in the championship.

Enough to take aback from Lyonnaise Le Sommer. “I ask you: do the boys have a defining double gathering in July? What I have a problem with are these two matches [against Sweden, the 12th, and against Ireland, the 16th] which should not be there. » More than a considerable number of matches, it is their scheduling date, given their importance, that the top scorer in the history of the selection (with 93 goals) deplores. “For me, after a competition, it’s vacation,” she explains. However, when you know that a few days after your return, you have to play in qualifying for the Euro… Your body and your head don’t have time to rest. »

“Know where you are and progress”

The eighteen selected for the Games, supported by four alternates, will still have a few days to breathe following the second match against England, on June 4. Until the start of the Olympic gathering on June 24.

To prepare for the Olympic deadline in the best possible conditions, the Les Bleues staff hope to negotiate the start of qualifying as best as possible. “It’s up to us to ensure that we accumulate as many points as possible over the first four matches to arrive at those in July with a little less stress,” explains Laurent Bonadei, Hervé Renard’s assistant. But if France has not validated its ticket for the Euro by then, there will be no question of “sacrificing” one of the last two qualifying matches, he insists.

Even if they will not be able to be the subject of as many experiments as if they were friendlies, the second act of the confrontations against Sweden and Ireland “will be totally integrated into the preparation” in Paris 2024, assures Laurent Bonadei. They will also be an opportunity to make some adjustments. “In Hervé [Renard’s] idea, it is possible from one match to another to have a few small adjustments to see the best complementarities between the players. »

Despite bad luck, both staff and Bleues agree on one point: the benefit of competing against the best teams. A way of “knowing where we are and progressing”, for Eugénie Le Sommer. “We come across very big nations [in qualifying for the Euro]. This will allow us to get into the swing of things for the Games, where no country will be weaker than the others,” adds her teammate Selma Bacha. “These are matches that will prepare us well for the intensity of the Olympics,” also hopes Laurent Bonadei.

In Paris, the unfortunate finalists of the Nations League (2-0 defeat against Spain) will meet the elite of women’s football, while the tournament, reduced to twelve teams, will bring together the best players in the world with no age limit – contrary to the rule in force among their male counterparts. A field so high that England or even Sweden did not even manage to qualify. That is to say.