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FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2018


France v Ghana: Group A - FIFA U-20 Women's  World Cup France 2018 - France pose for a team photo
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FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup record
Over the years, France have made steady progress in a tournament that they have nevertheless yet to win. The first of their five previous appearances came in 2002, when they went out in the group phase. On their return four years later, Les Bleuettes reached the quarter-finals, only to lose to Korea DPR, the start of a rivalry that the French have had the worst of. It was the North Koreans who ended their run at the semi-final stage at Chile 2008, and though France earned a measure of revenge in defeating the Asians in the match for third place at Canada 2014, they came off second best to them again in the final of Papua New Guinea 2016, losing 3-1.

The road to France
Though they qualified automatically as competition hosts, France still took part in the European qualifying competition. They did so as defending champions, having beaten Spain in the 2016 final. The two sides met again in the 2017 showpiece match, with La Rojita exacting revenge to deny the French a historic double. Despite that defeat, Les Bleuettes enjoyed a fine campaign, beating Germany 2-1 in the semi-finals and England 1-0 in the group phase, results that should stand them in good stead when they host the tournament for the very first time.

The coach
Gilles Eyquem is a born teacher. A former defender, he enjoyed a solid if unspectacular professional career, running out for clubs such as Bordeaux, Guingamp and Angers between 1977 and 1989. When his playing days were over, he moved quickly into coaching and has been helping France’s young female talents flourish since 2012. He steered them to the UEFA Women’s Under-19 EURO title in 2013 and again in 2016, following up on both occasions by guiding his charges to top-three finishes at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Having ended up on the losing side in the 2016 final, Eyquem will be anxious to go one better on home soil.

The stat
1 - France's squad is likely to feature one key player who knows what it means to play at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup: goalkeeper Mylene Chavas, who won the adidas Golden Glove at Papua New Guinea 2016.