Tuesday 19 September 2017, 21:30

Bleues ready to shine on home soil

  • The Official Emblem and Slogan of France 2019 was unveiled on Tuesday

  • The slogan ‘Dare to Shine’ has particular resonance for France

  • FIFA.com brings you the reactions of the coach and players of the host team

The first step on the road to the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ was taken on Tuesday when the Local Organising Committee unveiled the tournament’s Official Emblem and Slogan in Paris. FIFA President Gianni Infantino, French Football Association (FFF) President Noel Le Graet, and French Sports Minister Laura Flessel were among the masters of ceremonies at the event, which took place in the beautiful surroundings of the Musee de l’Homme, in the centre of the French capital.

‘Dare to Shine’ is the slogan that has been chosen for France 2019. While it applies to all the teams who will be vying for the world title in two years’ time, that message has special resonance for France, who have become habitual contenders for silverware, but have yet to turn that potential into a major trophy. Yet, as Les Bleues on show at the launch event explained, they are determined to set that record straight.

“It’s a wonderful challenge and I feel very proud to be here in this job, ready to accept it,” newly appointed France coach Corinne Diacre told FIFA.com. “There’s going to be a lot of expectation and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us already. Perhaps we need to be less in the moment and start anticipating things and focusing on what really counts, which is what happens on the pitch.”

One thing for sure is that Diacre’s players cannot wait for the big event to come around. Delighted at beating Spain 3-1 in a friendly in Calais the day before, they were wearing even bigger smiles come the end of the launch. “I felt a lot of joy and pride,” said forward Eugenie Le Sommer, one of her side’s goalscorers against the Spanish. “It’s France. It’s my country. To have a competition like the World Cup taking place on home soil is just amazing. It’s a unique opportunity. It could be magical!”

While the French are rightly cautious, they do have the potential to achieve something big. After all, the nation’s teams have a habit of performing well as hosts on the big occasion. Victorious at UEFA EURO 1984, Les Bleus repeated the feat at the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™ and then finished runners-up at EURO 2016. “We’ve been telling ourselves: ‘They did it, so why can’t we?',” said Diacre. Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi is of the same opinion: “I think we can rely on our fans. We saw how they got behind the boys at the EUROS last year, and we’re hoping they’ll do the same with us and push us all the way to the Final, just like they did with them.”

Support from a legend “I think the French fans are ready for it,” said Amandine Henry. “We’re getting more and more media coverage, and there are more and more people coming to watch us in the stadiums. There’s no denying that.” Among the fans already cheering them on is former Bleue and French women’s football icon Marinette Pichon. “The thought of France hosting the World Cup gives me goose bumps,” she said. “It’s fantastic. I can’t wait to be there.

“We’ve got two years to go before kick-off, which gives our Bleues time to prepare and to develop gradually with the introduction of talented youngsters and the experience of the older heads,” Pichon added. “It also gives the LOC, the host cities and the stadiums time to put on a great party. I’m convinced that France and Les Bleues have what it takes to win their World Cup in 2019.”

All France have to do now is dare to shine!