It’s the biggest women’s World Cup ever with nearly one million tickets sold for a global tournament in which competition is so stiff that several teams are genuine contenders for the title.
“We have a big event, we have 1 billion viewers,” he said in a Congress in Parison on Thursday ” We will be proud of that.”
“We did not always choose big grounds because we didn’t want any empty stadiums,” Noel Le Graet, the president of the French Football Federation, told AFP. Various Betting Options are available on NaijaBet
“I was a bit scared about the Parc des Princes, but the opening match sold out in five minutes.”
The rising interest in France, and in much of western Europe, follows the improved quality of many of the teams from traditional football powers.
This time, contenders to lift the trophy in Lyon on July 7 are plentiful.
The French, captained by Lyon star Amandine Henry, will get the chance to
showcase their credentials when they run out before 47 000 fans at the Parc des Princes to face the South Koreans at 1900 GMT in the first match in Group A, which also contains Norway and Nigeria.
Les Bleues are ranked fourth in the world and are seen as the second favourites after the holders, the United States.
The country is home to Europe’s leading club side, with Lyon last month winning a fourth consecutive Champions League, but the national team lost in the quarterfinals of the last World Cup, the last European Championship and the 2016 Olympics.
Le Graet, has set the home team the target of going all the way to the final.
“That is what he said and that is what I am paid to do. If I don’t fulfil that objective I will have to stand aside,” coach Corinne Diacre told sports daily L’Equipe.
“We would have been disappointed if the objective was smaller. It proves that he has confidence in us. It means we are capable of doing it,” added Diacre, a former French international who previously coached Clermont in the men’s second division.
USA SEEK FOURTH TITLE
France’s women are dreaming of matching the men, who are the reigning world champions and also won the World Cup as hosts in 1998.
“I am from that 1998 generation. We want to experience the same emotions,” said Henry, one of seven Lyon players in the French squad.
South Korea lost 3-0 to France in the last 16 at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and would love to reach the knockout phase again. Their star player is the midfielder Ji So-yun of Chelsea.
“We need to build experience. We will try to win the game but we will have to accept the result whatever happens,” their coach, Yoon Deok-yeo, said modestly.
It will be an intriguing opening game for the 24-team tournament, which will be played in nine cities across the country, with the semifinals and final – all sell-outs – being played at the 58 000-seat home of Lyon.
The inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or winner, who scored a hat-trick for her club in last month’s Champions League final, is at odds with her national federation and will be missed.
Meanwhile, the United States aims to lift the trophy for the fourth time.
They have made headlines in the run-up to the finals due to a legal dispute with their federation as they fight for equal pay.
Their squad in France includes superstars like Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan. They begin their campaign against unfancied Thailand in Reims, in Champagne country, next Tuesday.
Among the other contenders are England, who begin their bid against old rivals Scotland in Nice on Sunday.
Germany are also serious contenders and they open their campaign on Saturday against China in Rennes in Group B. Spain play South Africa later in Le Havre in the same group before Norway and Nigeria clash in Reims.