France 4-0 Colombia: Les Bleues off to flying start in Rio

France lay down a marker in Group G.

France 4-0 Colombia: Les Bleues off to flying start in Rio
Three first-half goals more than enough to sink Colombia (credit: Pedro Vilela/Getty)
France
4 0
Colombia
France: Bouhaddi, Houara, Renard (c), Mbock, Majri, Henry, Bussaglia, Diani (Thomis, min. 80), Abily (Lavogez, min. 72), Cadamuro, Le Sommer (Delie, min. 75).
Colombia: Sepulveda, C. Arias, N. Arias, Clavijo, Velásquez, Salazar, Gaitán (c), Ospina (Vidal, min. 67), Andrade (Ariza, min. 76), Santos (Pineda, min. 89), Usme
SCORE: 1-0, min. 2, C. Arias (OG). 2-0, min. 14, Le Sommer. 3-0, min. 42, Abily. 4-0, min. 82, Majri.
REFEREE: Ri Hyang-Ok (KOR) booked Majri, min. 50. Vidal, min. 71.
INCIDENTS: Rio 2016 group G game between France and Colombia held at the Mineirão, Belo Horizonte. X spectators.

Two top-drawer free kicks from Camille Abily and Amel Majri set France on their way against Colombia in their opening match at Rio 2016.

Goal, goals, goals

If Les Bleues wanted to overturn the humiliation of being defeated by the same opponents in Canada last year they couldn’t have asked for a better start. Eugénie Le Sommer’s whipped cross parried away by a diving Sandra Sepúlveda for Carolina Arias to deflect into her own net with Louisa [Nécib] Cadamuro arriving just behind her. It had only taken 67 seconds and the French had drawn first blood.

Although Colombia did well to respond and stay calm after conceding so early, the French flocked forward in numbers and Le Sommer’s grabbed a second just before the quarter hour mark. With the away defence scrambling Camille Abily volleyed from outside the box, her ferocious looped effort dropping like a stone before bouncing off of the crossbar and back into the six-yard box. With Sepúlveda still on her back from trying to tip the shot over, the Lyon striker closed down the space and nodded the ball past the scuttling keeper.

The game calmed down and Colombia began to enjoy infrequent trips up the pitch to bother Sarah Bouhaddi, Liana Salazar’s shot from distance the first thing to give the Lyon keeper something to think about. The ball dropping on the roof of the net as Las Chicas Superpoderosas jogged back, ready to face the next French wave.

With the half wearing down and Amel Majri felled just outside the box, the Colombia defence might have been breathing a sigh of relief when the referee awarded a free kick but not a penalty. Their relief however, was short-lived as Abily wrapped the ball around the wall and, despite Sepúlveda’s best efforts, drilled it into the top corner.
 

Many expected big things of Lady Andrade, but just like her team the attacker struggled to find her feet in the game and was withdrawn in the second-half (credit: Gustavo Andrade/Getty)
Many expected big things of Lady Andrade, but just like her team the attacker struggled to find her feet in the game and was withdrawn in the second-half (credit: Gustavo Andrade/Getty)

Leisurely second-half

With the game all but won in the first-half, France came out for the second without their steely edge. They were still a persistent threat to Sepúlveda’s goal, but the Colombian defence just about doing enough to keep the opposition out.

Moments after coming on, Colombia substitute Ingrid Vidal was swiftly shown a yellow card for retaliating to a challenge from Wendie Renard. After failing to calm down and having words with Ri Hyang-Ok, the referee pulled the red card out of her pocket to serve as a warning and Vidal quickly retreated.

With the game wearing down and the tournament a marathon in sweltering Brazil, Philippe Bergeroo looked to his bench to freshen things up and rest important legs, but no respite for Colombia as one-by-one, Claire Lavogez, Marie Delie and Élodie Thomis entered the fray.

The French had to wait for it but their fourth goal finally arrived, another direct free-kick that despite being millimetres away from, Sepúlveda could do nothing about. Majri’s sublime strike, hit with enough precision to canon off of the underside of the crossbar right in the very corner before bouncing behind the keeper and in.

A thoroughly dominant performance from Les Bleues, even when the slowed down to a stroll in the second-half, they were always a class above a below-average Colombia team. Despite the scoreline, the best is yet to come from both sides.