A first hitch that falls badly: the French women's team stalled in Austria on Tuesday (0-0) in the duel at the top of the qualifiers, delaying its qualification for Euro 2022 at the end of an agitated rally for coach Corinne Deacon.
The technician began her international period with a strong but criticized choice: the non-summons of Captain Amandine Henry.
It ended with a frustrating draw against the 22nd nation in the world, which interrupted a series of five successes.
In the meantime, she will have lived a week of isolation for Covid-19, and she will have had to manage from a distance the reactions of some Lyonnaise, shocked by the absence of Henry, their teammate at OL.
In short, the month of October will have been very eventful for the former coach of Clermont (Ligue 2), even if Friday's big victory against North Macedonia (11-0) was a happy parenthesis.
In the standings, however, there is nothing alarming: France remains co-leader of its group tied with Austria, and a victory against these same Austrians on November 27 at Guingamp would be enough for it to validate its ticket for the Championship of 'Europe.
But Deacon risks facing new questions in this period of friction, symbolized in September by the voluntary withdrawal of guardian Sarah Bouhaddi and in October by the absence of Henry.
And unlike in recent weeks, it will no longer be able to highlight the irreproachable "results" of the team to justify its choices, after this first misstep in six days of qualifying for Euro 2022. "Les matches follow each other and are not alike.
It cannot always smile, we knew that.
But the girls gave everything they could, we missed this bit of success, ”she responded, generally satisfied with the content.
Its players have indeed clearly dominated the debates, Tuesday evening in the small but recent stadium of Wiener Neustadt, about fifty kilometers from Vienna.
But they failed to shake a rough Austrian defense.
The players and their boss knew that it would be complicated to pass 11 goals to Austria, especially since the latter had been waiting for six months to be able to play again in front of his audience, which came to several hundred (650 precisely) despite the seven or eight degrees displayed by the thermometer and the restrictions in force in a country which had 10 times fewer new cases of Covid-19 on Monday than in France.
This was confirmed at the final whistle, the Austrians celebrating their victory with great reinforcements of sound and dance.
This was also seen on the lawn, like the exceptional stop by goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger in front of Aïssatou Tounkara's head at close range (40th), well served by Wendie Renard.
The latter celebrated her 121st selection on Tuesday - as much as Corinne Deacon!
- at the end of ten very tense days concerning her, between her shocked remarks following the non-selection of her teammate Henry and her setting on the bench on Friday, with no other explanation than a "choice of the moment" on the part of Deacon.
She finally recovered the confidence of the technician, who established her, unlike Amel Majri (came into play for a quarter of an hour), the other Lyonnaise who reacted to the "Henry affair" by evoking "Tensions" around the Blues.
But if the presence of Renard instilled a little serenity in the defense of the Blues, it was not enough to make them score, even if Viviane Asseyi almost scored with a magic bicycle the most beautiful goal of her career ( 22nd) and Kadidiatou Diani one of his smartest, a heel well anticipated by Zinsberger (24th).
Renard also created a great opportunity for a header in the second half (56th) before an unbreathable end to the game, with a header over Elisa De Almeida (85th) and a last free kick from Delphine Cascarino.
Insufficient to hit the mark and get a victory that would have appeased the France group.
The appeasement, from now on, will await the return match.
Despite the tensions, the blue against North Macedonia