Join us on this journey as we dish out the inside scoop on each squad's strengths, weaknesses, players to keep an eye on and what a pass mark might be for each nation.
Next up, we look at Group F team, France.
FIFA Women's World Cup Appearances: 4 (2003, 2011, 2015, 2019)
Best performance at a FIFA Women's World Cup: Quarter-finals (2015, 2019)
Players to watch
In one of the all-time shock calls, Amandine Henry was not selected for Les Bleues' Euro 2022 squad despite her Champions League heroics just days prior in the Champions League final. This was believed to be due to a dispute with controversial former national team head coach Corinne Diacre.
It doesn't look like there will be a repeat of this event with new head coach Herve Renard recently telling the media that the defensive midfielder is an important player for the team, before adding, "My wish is that she is with us for the World Cup."
Henry looks set to be joined by centre back Wendie Renard, who had initially withdrawn from the tournament prior to the aforementioned Diacre’s dismissal. One of the best centrebacks in the women's game, she is also one of the most decorated at club level and will be desperate to add a World Cup winners medal to her trophy room.
PSG captain and France's number eight, Grace Geyoro, has the potential to be a critical player for France. The 25-year-old is playing some fantastic football and looks primed to strut her stuff across Australia and New Zealand this coming July and August.
Les Bleues are in incredible form in 2023, despite the controversies that have surrounded the squad. France started the year with a 1-0 victory in the Tournoi de France against Denmark. The team followed that up with a 5-1 victory over Uruguay, before a 0-0 tie with fellow heavy hitters Norway.
A pair of friendly victories followed, with France easily handling Colombia 5-2, and securing a 2-1 victory over Canada. France has a pair of warm-up friendlies prior to the World Cup, including a clash against the Republic of Ireland and a huge matchup against Australia.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths: Line for line, France has one of the best squads in world football. This is evidenced by the team's incredible run to the Euro 2022 semi-finals without arguably their best player in Henry. If the side can put the drama behind them, their quality will be difficult for anyone to stop.
Weaknesses: We preface this by saying Renard is a fantastic head coach. He has coached Ligue 1 sides Lille and Sochaux. He is also a vastly experienced international coach, having led Ivory Coast, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia with mixed fortunes. All of those jobs however, have been in the men’s game.
Renard has minimal experience in the women’s game, and that, along with just a few months of preparation time with his squad, is why he is Les Bleues' biggest weakness coming into the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
France is a heavyweight of world football, and it is for that reason that, despite the controversies, player withdrawals, and coaching upheaval, the bar is still exceptionally high for this team. Keeping that in mind, anything less than a semi-final berth will likely be viewed as a massive failure for the French side.
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