Wendie Renard for Wales-France (2023 World Cup qualifiers): “We see Jessica Fishlock in charge”

“Will the idea be to face an aggressive team like Wales to start strong or wait to gauge first?
We are on the outside, but in our habits we have always attacked our matches hard. Home or away, it doesn’t change the game plan. The opponent is necessarily at home, we look at what they have to offer in the first quarter of an hour. But our idea will be to move forward, score as fast as possible to take the opponent.

You run into Jessica Fishlock, who you played with on OL (2018-2019). Is this the team’s biggest threat?
I know her very well, because of her mentality she only lets go at the last moment. She has experience today, she is a leech, where no one would put their head, she will go. She is a respected player in her country, there will be vigilance about her, but there are other players who can make a difference. We see that she is the boss. Together we will have to be able to further increase our playing level, our technical level. It will be a complicated and difficult match.

Did you sleep at this pre-match?
No, there’s too much respect. We can go to bed after the game, but before she knows me, she knows I’m not going to give her any presents (laughs).

“Katoto? You just had to be patient with her

Marie-Antoinette Katoto is currently evolving at a very high level. Did you expect this evolution on his part, this change of dimension in a few months?
No, you just had to be patient with her. Marie, she has been showing her qualities for years. It’s true that now, once a player shows his qualities a little bit, we tend to want everything right away, while there are phases to go through. Today she forged herself, she has progressed, she continues to work. She’s a goalscorer, someone who likes to be in the penalty area, to score. She is always well served, I hope she will score as much as possible with Les Bleues.

A chance to see you together in Lyon next year?
(Laughter) This is not the place, nor the time.

Wendie Renard and Marie-Antoinette Katoto during the Tournoi de France last February.  (E. Garnier/The Team)

Wendie Renard and Marie-Antoinette Katoto during the Tournoi de France last February. (E. Garnier/The Team)

These two important matches for the French team come between the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the OL-PSG semi-final to come. Is it easy to focus on it?
It’s easy because we’re in the blue jersey, not in a club. We have to be able to separate things. We have goals in the club, but also here. This qualification has not yet been achieved, tomorrow we have a big game to play (Friday) see her. Then we have time to discuss. From the moment we move on, there is always fatigue. It is up to us to be serious, to do what is necessary for our recovery. †

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