A stunning first-half strike from Eugenie Le Sommer was the difference as France edged England 1-0 to open Group F play in Moncton at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™.
The two European sides battled less than ideal weather conditions in New Brunswick as the quality of the match was affected by the constant rain and wind. But France, who have not lost to England since 1974, were determined to begin their Canada 2015 campaign brightly, and they owe the three points to star striker Le Sommer, who’s 29th minute effort was a rare highlight in a tightly contested, physical match.
France looked to be the stronger side throughout the game, but there were few scoring chances and the two goalkeepers were rarely tested. Louisa Necib’s free-kick gave England’s Karen Bardsley a rare workout early on, but England’s tough backline kept Les Bleues at bay. That is, until Le Sommer broke the deadlock.
Gaetane Thiney benefited from a defensive miscue by the Three Lionesses, and the France No17 set Le Sommer up perfectly, whose powerful drive left Bardsley with no chance.
After the break, Le Sommer had several chances to make it 2-0, but the No9 failed to hit the target. England struggled to retain possession in their attacking third and caused few problems for the French backline. Coach Mark Sampson brought on a few offensive-minded substitutes to try and find an equaliser, but Sarah Bouhaddi was able to keep a clean sheet and put Les Bleues – at least temporarily – atop Group F.
Live Your Goals Player of the Match: Eugenie Le Sommer (France)