After the Euro des Bleues: Corinne Deacon, far fewer questions, still a shadow of doubt

From our special correspondent in Milton Keynes,

There were no elusive claims or answers. Corinne Deacon had no desire to linger in a press conference at MK Stadium on Wednesday. A constant with her, but circumstances lent themselves a little more this time to short but clear answers. In just four minutes she answered the question: the blues lacked efficiency, this German team is a very sharp machine, you don’t have to look for excuses on a physical level. However, it was at the very end of her speech that Corinne Deacon said most of the things.

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First of all, warm, on an evaluation of this Euro and on the responses for 2023 and 2024, she had a thought for those who surrounded her in recent months. “Disappointment is so important that you have to be close to your group, close to your staffshe explained. All in good timeWords but also facts: at the final whistle, she entered the lawn to thank her players and let slip this message, which she repeated at the press conference: she is proud of it.

But it was in her last speech that she looked at the undeniable success of this Euro for her and for the Bleues: the birth of a group, the renewal of a team. “Not everything is to be thrown awayshe said. At instant T, disappointment prevails. You can’t be content with losing. But we have built things, we have a solid foundation. We still need some time. It wasn’t our evening, this race wasn’t ours yet, but in any case the foundations are solid. We have built something important, with a very friendly and hardworking group that does not like to lose, bodes well for the future.“.

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Henry or Le Sommer? The debate is over

Would the Bleues have done better with Eugénie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry against Germany? Nobody knows. Perhaps. But the debate is gone. The answers provided by the collective on this euro will probably confirm these radical choices. Because the workforce has lived well and this glass ceiling story is finally behind us. Because most of its players finally seem to have understood the Deacon “method”, even if it can still be perplexing, like the handling of the Griedge Mbock case on this Euro. This troupe has a future, a character but above all it has not yet discovered everything.

Individual progression from some looks promising, just to reinforce a collective adventure that’s exciting in terms of gameplay but disappointing when it comes to making up your own mind. In 2019 it was carefree and minimalist. In 2022 it was at times flashy and often relevant, as at times as decisive coaching. From this Euro, Deacon comes out strengthened. From this result, inaccessible to past teams, but also from the path taken.

Corinne Deacon in the midst of her players for a run in Ashby-de-la-Zouch

Credit: Getty Images

Reinforced but also comforted. Noël Le Graët may have backtracked before the match against Italy on Corinne Deacon’s future, his decision seems to have been made for many months. Only a big accident and an acute crisis could have distracted him from the real desire for him: to keep the coach in his position. At the height of the gusts, he had not strayed from his course and his loyalty to the one who accepted the mission in 2017 after a diligent courtship of “NLG” since 2016.

The 2024 Olympics in the crosshairs … and the love of the public?

I still supported her in times when there weren’t many people supporting herOn Thursday he insisted with the AFP. Today there are pretty positive results, I don’t see why I wouldn’t support it“. In other words, Deacon will stay if he wants. No external sign suggests otherwise. The coach should therefore remain in office until next summer’s World Cup. And even beyond?

Soon there are the World Championships and the Paris Olympics (in 2024, ed), I really want it. And perhaps the Euro in France in 2025explained Graët, who placed these Paris Games as a top priority. I see that when you change coaches every year or two, even in clubs, things don’t go on. With Corinne we are on the right path“. Just what can allow women’s football to accelerate the growth hindered by Covid?

“I don’t like Deacon but it’s difficult to criticize her on this Euro”

It is ultimately the only valid question: is Corinne Deacon the figure capable of getting the general public to join this team? Despite Lyon’s dominance in C1, nothing can ever match the aura of selection. On this Euro, a constant: the French fans were rare, lonely and sometimes saddened by the lack of tricolor enthusiasm. From Rotherham to Milton Keynes, it is mainly the Italian, Icelandic, Dutch or German fans that we have seen the most, the most. A question of organization but also a question of incarnation.

Among the Bleues, two heads go much further: that of Wendie Renard, the irreproachable and multi-titled captain of this team. Then that of Corinne Deacon, now respected if not really loved. Her substantial work, from management to communication, both personal and collective, is to be commended. But still not enough to trigger the necessary lightning.

Corinne Deacon poses before the start of the women’s Euro

Credit: Getty Images

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