Group A: France 4-0 Korea Republic
Paris: A commanding performance from host nation France proved Korea Republic’s undoing on Friday as they were beaten 4-0 in the opening match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Wendie Renard’s brace and the inspirational form of Amandine Henry and Eugenie Le Sommer were the undoubted highlights of the morale boosting win for France, one which sends them to the top of the Group A table ahead of Saturday’s match between fellow group hopefuls Norway and Nigeria.
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On a wet and windy night in the French capital, it was France who started the brightest as captain Henry curled a shot narrowly wide in the fourth minute and Le Sommer forced Korea Republic goalkeeper Kim Min-jeong into a fine sprawling save shortly after.
However, with nine minutes played, France took the lead their early domination richly deserved when an onrushing Le Sommer converted Henry’s cross from eight yards out.
To their credit, the Koreans rallied after the setback, but France were to come agonisingly close to a second shortly before the half-hour mark, defender Griedge Mbock having a goal eventually ruled out for offside after a referral to the Video Assistant Referee.
Not to be outdone, France continued to press and duly doubled their advantage courtesy of a towering Renard header from Gaetene Thiney’s 35th minute corner.
As the first half drew to a close, two became three for France as Renard once again soared highest to head home Amel Majri’s corner and leave Korea Republic with a mountain to climb in the second period.
There was though, to be little respite for the East Asians immediately after the break, Henry threatening to extend France’s advantage courtesy of a fizzing 57th minute effort from distance which Kim Min-jeong did well to gather.
By way of contrast to what had gone before, France then struggled to find a way past their opponents’ increasingly resolute defence, a distinct positive for the Koreans who subsequently saw substitutes Kang Chae-rim and Lee Min-a both flash shots wide of the target when well placed.
Nevertheless, France continued to dominate possession in the final moments of the game and Henry applied the finishing touch to a convincing display by curling home her side’s fourth.
While France’s victory was celebrated wildly by a capacity crowd at the iconic Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris, the defeat leaves Yoon Duk-yeo’s charges now needing to make amends for the defeat when they face the Nigerians on Wednesday.
Photos: FIFA via Getty Images
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