France sink Belgium to reach last eight but face anxious wait over Katoto injury | Women’s Euro 2022 & More Latest News

France secured their place within the knockout levels of the European Championships with a recreation to spare after beating Belgium on a dusky summer time night, but they may wait anxiously for information on the knee injury suffered by their striker, Marie-Antoinette Katoto.

Their opponents, in the meantime, have to obtain a greater consequence in opposition to Italy than Iceland get in opposition to France to stand an opportunity of progressing. They saved the scoreline respectable but had been unable to deny ­Kadidiatou Diani and Griedge Mbock from punishing their defensive lapses.

Belgium completed with 10 gamers after Amber Tysiak was proven a second yellow card for a late ­handball, with a France penalty additionally awarded after a VAR assessment. The French captain, Wendie Renard, noticed the ensuing spot-kick saved by Nicky Evrard and put the rebound extensive.

France, who had begun their marketing campaign with a 5-1 rout of Italy, gave Belgium no time to acclimatise to their blistering assault. They instantly set out to ask questions through Grace Geyoro and went forward by means of Diani within the sixth minute.

Corinne Diacre, the France supervisor, stated of her facet’s spectacular begin: “We’ve been working on this for a while because we came up against teams like Belgium in the 2023 World Cup qualifiers. We were like how we were on the eve of the first match: focused, determined. After the Italy game, I didn’t need to talk a lot. The girls knew what they had to do.”

Given that Geyoro had scored a hat-trick in her earlier recreation, it appeared smart for Belgium to focus their consideration on her. Yet it was Diani who snuck in on the far submit to nod in a superbly timed header from Sakina Karchaoui’s deep cross.

Kadidiatou Diani celebrates her early opener at the New York Stadium.
Kadidiatou Diani celebrates her early opener on the New York Stadium. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

After a prolonged VAR verify for a attainable offside the sport bought going once more – and so did the France assault. This time they had been led by Clara Matéo, who was slicing in from the left and operating rings round Sari Kees. She nearly made it 2-0 with a curling effort that led to reverberating “oohs” across the New York Stadium.

From high to backside, France had been purring. If there was any level of concern for Diacre it could have been the early substitution of Katoto, who appeared to go down with none provocation and left the pitch clutching her knee.

The only downside [to the match] is Marie’s injury,” Diacre stated afterwards. “I hope it’s not too serious. It’s the knee. We’ll have to wait for the exams but we’ll try to have one done tomorrow.”

Katoto’s alternative, Ouleymata Sarr, had no time to settle. Moments later she was watching Janice Cayman degree for Belgium with a toe-poke that trickled previous Pauline Peyraud-Magnin. No matter. France had proved they might outscore opponents of their last recreation, and so they confirmed it once more with a objective from Mbock nearly instantly.

An analogous begin to the second half might have gone a good distance to placing the sport to mattress, and France started peppering Evrard’s objective with Geyoro main the cost. Sarr quickly joined her teammate, leaving Kees in her wake, but Evrard managed to collect the ball earlier than she might power it into the online.

Something had to change for Ives Serneels’s workforce. In an try to hearth up the assault, Laura Deloose and Feli Delecauw had been introduced on after about an hour. The pair bought to work and shortly Belgium had been launching extra counterattacks.

Griedge Mbock.

But although they had been forcing better turnovers in possession, France nonetheless possessed the superior assault. They wouldn’t be denied, least of all on Bastille Day, even when Renard squandered the chance from the spot to make it 3-1.

Serneels stated: “They played faster passes and had much more pace on the flanks where we couldn’t catch them.”

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