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France with a late winner top group F, after a competitive fixture against Brazil

A competitive fixture saw Brazil struggle to open up a fierce French side, who now top group F. An opening goal for Le Sommer gave France the edge in Brisbane, but Brazil fought back in style with an equaliser from star striker Debinha. Wendie Renard made the difference late on, to give France their first win of the tournament.

An energetic start to a competitive game saw Brazil begin quickly, with that all important win to advance in mind. Starting with confidence, the team filtered into France’s defensive third in search of an early lead.

France began a completely different team than the side who couldn’t break through Jamaica. Quick combination play saw Les Bleues on a threatening counterattack, getting high into the attacking third and finding their flow. With several threaded balls through Brazil’s backline, the French were unable to make anything of the early chances they made.

Le Sommer forced Izidoro into making a save, as she headed France’s first attempt on target into the bottom-left corner after picking up a pinpoint cross from the right-wing.

A deserved opening goal followed the positive combination play as Le Sommer headed home for France. Karchaoui crossed an impressive pinpoint ball from deep-left midfield which reached Diani, who was able to pick out Le Sommer to give France the lead, 17 minutes in.

Brazil struggled to open-up France’s defence in the first half, managing limited attempts on goal. The best of their chances stemmed from Debinha intelligently threading through the congested French defence and squaring a ball into an open penalty area; Adriana just missed the target and fired the ball above the crossbar, a miss which could come back to haunt the South American champions.

Bacha conceded a foul in a dangerous area to gift Brazil a free-kick, however Adriana skewed the ball just wide of the far post in a shot which had power but just lacked precision. A clever run through a midfield of blue saw Adriana was foulded by Toletti on the edge of the box. Debinha shot a disappointing ball from the free kick, which found itself straight into the arms of Peyraud Magnin.

Going into half-time the game had been all France, the side looking strong and playing with dangerous intent. Upholding the majority of the possession, their game of quick turnovers and fast ball recovery enabled the side the thread the ball around Brazil’s midfield and create many threatening movements into their attacking third. A complete change in tempo from the side who had a disappointing start to their world cup campaign, in a goalless draw with debutants Jamaica.

At the end of the half, Brazil edged their way back into France’s defensive third, trying to make something out of what has been a ‘rare’ counter attack, however were unable to make anything of their movements and found themselves trailing at the break.

The beginning of the second half saw much of the same, with Brazil struggling to string together passes, chasing the game as they struggled to win the ball back. France looking very much in control.

A tactical shift for Brazil saw Ary Borges in a more central position, giving Brazil a shift in intent as they picked up the tempo. In a burst of excellence Brazil came firing. Picking the ball up in midfield, Kerolin took a shot which was blocked by the French defence but broke through into the feet of Debinha. The Brazilian forward fired through in impressive fashion to bring her team level.

Shifting France onto the backfoot, Brazil continued the rest of the half with energy and momentum, after firing themselves back from behind with that opportunity to quaify in their sights.

The closing 20 minutes consisted of impressive, competitive, end-to-end football, with France and Brazil both looking to make the difference. Brazil playing full of energy, forced France into errors, conceding fouls and possession.

France were dangerous as they flooded into attack, and it was their captain which ultimately made the difference. An out-swinging corner enabled an unmarked Wendie Renard to make an intelligent run to the back-post and give France the lead 83 minutes in; and suddenly, the game that was looking like it was to be Brazil’s to be had, saw France with difference from a set piece.

A second half which consisted of a Brazilian team on the forefront, fighting back, finding their flow and inching their way closer to qualification, saw their momentum killed by Renard’s goal. France ultimately made the difference, where Brazil struggled to capitalise on their chances.

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