France 1-0 Canada: Abily stunner wins it for the hosts

Over 15,000 fans showed up in Auxerre to watch France play in their final match before the Olympics and the home team did not disappoint against Canada.

France 1-0 Canada: Abily stunner wins it for the hosts
France celebrate their opening goal thanks to Abily | Source:
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France: Bouhaddi; Houara, Delannoy, Renard, Karchaoui; Lavogez (Cadamaro, min. 58), Hamraoui (dali, min. 78), Henry, Abily (Bussaglia, min. 58); Diani (Thomis, min. 58), Delie (Le Bihan, min. 82).
Canada: Labbé; Wilkinson (Chapman, min. 58), Buchanan, Zardosky, Lawrence; Matheson (Bélanger, min. 72), Fleming, Scott, Schmidt (Rose, min. 58), Beckie (Prince, min. 84); Sinclair.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 36, Abily.
REFEREE: Vivianne Peeters (NED). Yellow Card: Rose (min. 86).

In what was not only the send-off game for France and a final preparation for Canada, the Stade de l’Abbé-Deschamps in Auxerre was also the sight of the final match for Louisa Cadamuro (née Necib) as the French superstar has now officially retired from football.

France started off with an almost B-team line up but had no trouble thrilling their home crowd and gaining a morale-boosting win over Canada who, apart from brief flashes here and there, could not break down the French defence.

France dominate possession in the first half

Although Les Bleues controlled the match for most of the time, it was Canada who had the first real opportunity of the match. Ashley Lawrence, a recently converted left-back and someone who would constantly trouble the French backline, broke forward in the seventh minute of the match.

The Canadian skipped past the challenge of Jessica Houara d'Hommeaux and reached the byline before squaring to an unmarked Jessie Fleming right in front of a gaping goal. Fleming was unprepared for the pass and thus proceeded to slice her shot wide of goal. That was certainly a wake-up call for France who seemed a little disjointed to start the game.

France then proceeded to dominate the midfield and kept probing at a compact Canadian team to try and find spaces for the pace of Claire Lavogez and Kadidatou Diani to exploit. A good spell of possession in the 24th minute saw Lavogez pick up the ball just outside of the box and try and send a long-range effort past Canada's goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé but Labbé was able to read the shot, parry it and pounce on the ball before anyone could follow up the rebound.

Sinclair and Schmidt were kept quiet all game | Source: @CanadaSoccerEN
Sinclair and Schmidt were kept quiet all game | Source: @CanadaSoccerEN

Abily scores a fantastic free-kick

The game continued in that fashion until Les Bleues earned a free-kick just outside of the box in the 36th minute of the match. Camille Abily stepped up to the free-kick and proceeded to place her effort into the top corner of the goal. There was nothing Labbé could do about the shot even though she got a touch to it and Abily gave France a one goal advantage at that time.

Canada did manage to create slight chance before half-time in the 40th minute when Janine Beckie tried from outside the box but her connection was a little weak and her shot was deflected for a corner which was eventually cleared away by France.

Bouhaddi in the spotlight

The second half started the same way that the first half did with Canada creating the first chance of the half. A quick free-kick in the 55th minute found midfielder Diana Matheson in the box who quickly turned Wednie Renard and fired a shot on goal. However her shot was straight at French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi and the scoreline remained the same.

Bouhaddi would then proceed to almost gift Canada a goal in the 57th minute. Bouhaddi is known to have a very high starting position and at times, that can end up costing her team and that was almost the case here. The French goalkeeper came charging out of her box and failed to clear the ball once she came to it.

The ball was then taken away from her and while she tried to race back to her line, Fleming proceeded to try and chip the defenders who were on the goal line but her chip was not high enough and Sabrina Delannoy proceeded to clear off her line.

The ball did not go far and was circulated again by Canada to Lawrence who was once again bombing down the left hand side. The left-back found Matheson waiting in the box who proceeded to miss-kick her shot. The ball found Beckie in an offside position for an easy tap in and Canada celebrated the tying goal as the referee initially allowed the goal. After some deliberation with her lineswoman, the referee overturned her decision and teh scoreline remained at one-nil to France.

Cadamuro plays her last football match of her career | Source:
Cadamuro plays her last football match of her career | Source:

Cadamuro graces the pitch for one last time

The confusion during the disallowed goal gave time for Cadamuro to step in as a substitute and allow fans all over the world to see her play one last time. The creative midfielder wasted no time in asserting her dominance as in the 70th minute, her free-kick found the head of Amandine Henry but Henry could only place her effort over the bar.

Cadamuro was instrumental in the midfield as she always has been for France and allowed Les Bleues to regain the momentum in the match as she strung passes together with her teammates to slow the tempo down and essentially play keep-away with Canada for the remainder of the half.

Both teams trade changes in the last few minutes of the match

With only five minutes of extra time added on, both teams still managed to create opportunities for themselves as Canada pushed for the tie and France tried to pick them off on the break using substitute Elodie Thomis' pace.

In the 90th minute, a clearance from a Canada free-kick found Thomis who used her strength and speed to gain possession from Canadian substitute Alyssa Chapman and push forward to an one-on-one opportunity against Labbé. Labbé did very well in cutting out Thomis' angle before smothering the ball and preventing it from going past her. In the 92nd minute, a Canadian corner bounced around in the box before another substitute Deanne Rose pulled her effort just wide of the goal.

The last chance of the match fell to Thomis again who was found out wide by Cadamuro. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Selina Zardosky made an excellent last-ditch challenge to prevent Thomis from being able to take her shot.

Both teams will now amke their way to Rio for the 2016 Olympics and will start of their Olympic journeys on the August 3, 2016. France will face Colombia in their opening match while Canada will face Germany in theirs.