Having been held to a goalless draw by Jamaica, France had a point to prove as they lined up to face Brazil – who had cruised to a rather comfortable victory against Panama. Ary Borges netted the first hat-trick of the tournament in that fixture, and the winger retained her spot on the right flank as a result.
FRA: Peyraud-Magnin; Karchaoui, Renard, Lakrar, Périsset; Dali, Toletti, Geyoro; Bacha, Le Sommer, Diani
BRA: Letícia; Tamires, Rafaelle, Lauren, Antônia; Adriana, Luana, Kerolin, Ary Borges; Geyse, Debinha
An early break for France looked to punish the Brazilian defence, as Eugénie Le Sommer looked to square to Kadidiatou Diani in the centre of the box – though the Lyon striker had made her initial run a little too early, and was duly flagged as offside.
With 17 minutes on the clock, France’s early pressure told, as Diana nudged a deep ball into the box towards Le Sommer – who made absolutely no mistake as she flicked a header into the bottom-left corner, past the outstretched arms of Letícia.
Yet Brazil sought to claw themselves back into contention moments later, as Ary Borges played in Debinha with a lovely threaded pass. The latter sought to tee up Adriana, though she sent her shot well wide of the post despite finding herself unmarked in acres of space.
But as Brazil began to search for an equaliser, France grew keen to double their advantage as Karchaoui picked out Geyoro – though the onrushing Letícia was able to make the block, and the French midfielder was flagged offside regardless.
Despite strong calls from the French defence for an offside flag to be raised, Brazil found their long-awaited leveller in the 58th minute through Debinha. The experienced forward latched onto Kerolin’s effort, taking a touch before thumping a thunderous effort across the face of goal and leaving Peyraud-Magnin hapless.
And yet as Brazil’s attack looked to find their groove, it was France that looked to find the winner through Wendie Renard. The colossal centre-back was left unmarked inside the penalty area, making a mad dash for the back post to nod Selma Bacha’s corner across the face of goal – restoring France’s lead with just under ten minutes to play.
Group F remains wide open ahead of the final matchday, with all four teams currently able to qualify. France and Brazil sit in the two progression spots currently, though Jamaica or Panama could change that as they face off later on Saturday. France will face Panama on August 2, while Brazil take on Jamaica – with a defeat in that match seeing the Seleção eliminated. Both matches will kick off at 11am UK time.