France Rout USA 3-1 in 2019 Friendly Match

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2019

France's players celebrate after their forward Kadidiatou Diani (hidden) scored a goal  during a women's friendly football match between France and USA at the Oceane Stadium in Le Havre, northwestern France, on January 19, 2019. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/Getty Images

France comprehensively beat the United States women's national team 3-1 on Saturday in a friendly.

Two goals from Kadidiatou Diani and one from Marie-Antoinette Katoto were enough for the host nation of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup to serve notice to the defending champions ahead of the start of the tournament in July.

The U.S., who got a late goal from Mallory Pugh, arrived at the Stade Oceane in Le Havre hoping to impress in but found the hosts had more intensity and ingenuity.

Manager Jill Ellis' starting lineup omitted several key players against testing opposition, even if some decisions were out of her hands: 

It took a capable France side less than 10 minutes to go in front. Diani was left all alone in the box, and the 23-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward made no mistake with a cool finish.

France had taken the lead with what would become a familiar tactic, with the ploy clearly to overload the areas around left-back Emily Fox.

It worked a treat as the 20-year-old North Carolina Tar Heels defender struggled to identify the biggest dangers or track runners. Such problems were maybe inevitable for a youngster on this stage:

However, France's reliance on exploiting this avenue of attack offered some opportunities for the visitors, according to Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

There may have been gaps to exploit, but it was France who remained firmly on the front foot after the break. The home side's endeavour was rewarded when Diani completed her brace with a clever lob.

Fox Soccer relayed the goal for U.S. audiences:

France displayed pace, precision and ingenuity in the final third. Their stylish possession was dictated by classy No. 6 Amandine Henry, who routinely found space between the lines to thread passes through the obvious gaps in the USWNT back line.

Katoto's header made the scoreline a more accurate reflection of the one-sided pattern of play.

The U.S. will be stronger in matches that count, particularly when Ellis has a full contingent of players to choose from. However, there will still be some concern about how easily France played through the World Cup holders.

   

What's Next?

The USWNT are in action against Spain in Alicante on Tuesday.

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