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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: France coach Renard says pressure will be on Australia in quarterfinals

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France’s run at the Women’s World Cup is about to get a lot tougher with a quarterfinal clash against Australia on Saturday, but France coach Herve Renard understands the pressure that comes with being a host nation in a knockout game.

France cruised into the quarterfinals with an easy 4-0 win over Morocco in Tuesday’s last-16 match. Four years ago, Les Bleues were eliminated by the United States in the last eight in front of around 45,000 French fans in Paris.

“We know exactly what we’re in for,” Renard told reporters. “The host country, we know that that can be a good or bad thing. This is what the French team went through in 2019. It can be hugely disappointing as it was for France when it was knocked out.

“We’re hoping to put Australia through exactly what France went through when they were the host country in 2019.”

Eugenie Le Sommer netted a brace on Tuesday to increase her scoring record for France to 92 goals, while Kadidiatou Diani grabbed her fourth of the tournament, and Kenza Dali also netted for the fifth-ranked team, who were up 3-0 by the 23rd minute.

France played Australia less than a month ago, a 1-0 loss to the Matildas on July 14th in Melbourne in their last game before the World Cup kicked off. Renard, who was hired in late March after the sacking of Corinne Diacre, does not put much stock in that result, saying his players were jet-lagged.

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“Your mindset is completely different for the quarterfinals,” the coach said.

“We’ve come with great ambition, and if you’ve come with great ambition, you need to be capable of beating the best teams. There’s nothing to fear here, but we will respect Australia because it has a lot of qualities.”

The 54-year-old, who played professionally in France, described Tuesday’s game at Hindmarsh Stadium as a “bit of an odd evening for me”.

Renard coached Morocco’s men’s team from 2016 to 2019 and has a soft spot for their national programme.

“Congratulations to the Moroccan team, first time Morocco is participating in a World Cup, getting to the round of 16 is something that is a great result,” he said.

“I remember in 2016 when the women’s team was actually set up. It was starting from scratch. And therefore, this is a huge performance.”

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