The end of Lyon’s dominance among the Blues

Sunday, July 17, at Stade Ashby de la Zoche, northeast of Birmingham (England), France’s national team players train. Smiles on everyone’s faces on the eve of the last match of the group stage in the Euros (6-31 July), where the blue team has already confirmed its qualification to the quarter-finals.

During the session, defender Gridge Mbok pretended to pass the ball to striker Kadidato Diani, before bluffing, then gently bluffing. Ordinary scene? No doubt. However, apart from the national team, the first plays in OL while the second develops in PSG, in other words in the two “enemy” teams in D1.

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Until recently, relations between Lyonnais and Parisians were even more strained when they united in the France team. The former were semi-dominant there. During Euro 2013, for example, twelve of the 23 players selected by coach Bruno Bini came from the OL ranks.

“Leonis made a media impact through their results and award list,” Remembers Philippe Jolly, who was in charge of goalkeepers and physical preparation between 2007 and 2013, before becoming between 2017 and 2020 the assistant coach of the current Blue Team, Corinne Deacon.

From now on, the Parisian “accent” is just as present as the Lyon “accent”. Of the 23 players that Corinne Deacon has taken to England to compete in the European Championship, five are from Paris Saint-Germain. Or like those of OL. the first.

dismissals

The rise of PSG in recent years has changed the situation and largely explained the current rebalancing. Although it had long been OL’s main rival, the capital club took a step forward in 2021 by ousting Lyon from their league base, clinching their first national title in fifteen years.

The observation that could prevail in the middle of 2010 – “The Parisians who arrived have not won anything, nor have they had the same fame,” Philip Jolly summarizes – are no longer relevant. With Marie Antoinette Catuto (who left Euro due to injury), Kadidiato Diani or Grace Giroux, “There are more PSG players who have the possibility to claim Les Bleues”, Moreover, ahead of the European competition, Sonia Bombastor, the current coach of OL and the former international tricolor.

Another factor, not the least, played into this diminishing Lyon’s “control” of Les Bleues and redefining internal geopolitics: Corinne Deacon fired players like Amandine Henry, Eugenie Le Sommer, and Sarah Bouhady (who pulled herself out), OL executives.

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Officially, this separation was made for sporting reasons. In fact, it came to punish the incompatibility in relationships. Amandine Henry had publicly expressed, in November 2020, his criticism of Corinne Deacon’s management after the 2019 World Cup at home (the Blues were eliminated in the quarter-finals by the Americans).

The unit was less.

“Previously, there was less unity, more rivalry between clubs, some fears between players, but not necessarily only from Paris and Lyon”, Recognized by Eugenie Le Sommer, Quote by the team in november 2019. “Maybe because I’m from Lyon, I thought OL was labeled the bad guy”, Added the player from Lyon since 2010.

At the end of the 2000s, relations were sometimes quiet between international players from OL and those who played in Juvisy (Essonne), this club holds a candle to Lyonnaises – he was a six-time champion of France between 1992 and 2006 before being absorbed by the Accepted by Paris Football Club (Paris FC) in 2017.

Back then when the women’s first division was less professional than it is today, “Maybe there were small relational problems, Philip Jolly admits. Lyonnaises had good contracts while some other foreigners also worked as cleaners or staff. There was no jealousy, but she put up barriers. Little by little it calmed down as players with results started signing federation contracts with their clubs. »

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It was the role of Bruno Bini, national coach between 2007 and 2013, that dominated the cool-down process. “There was a majority of leonis. So, when there were confrontations of ideas, there was more weight on one side than the other. But we had a conductor named Bruno Bini,” He remembers Gaetan Thiene, an international with 163 caps, who had been playing for a club since 2008 in Jovisy, which became Paris FC.

mitigating effect

The results obtained under Bruno Bini’s orders also eased tensions. The Habs reached the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup and the London Olympics the following year. “If we had not obtained these results, we might have continued in this harmful climate between Lyonnais and Parisien”, Philip Jolly agrees.

Bruno Bini’s successors, Philippe Bergeru (2013 to 2016) and then Olivier Chauavne (2016-2017), continued the work done to maintain unity within the group. “I blew up everything” The second remembers about organizing meals. “When you are at dinner, you have the largest group on one side of the table and the smallest on the other side of the table, It was not ideal for adaptation and the arrival of new players. It was a little tricky at first, and some expressed their disapproval, but in the end they almost thanked me for doing it. »

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Today, the arrival in the French team of young players born in the 2000s, who did not know this sometimes difficult coexistence, has dispelled rivalries. Moreover, even if together OL and PSG still provide nearly half of the national team, their weight and influence tend to diminish, with players from Bordeaux, Paris FC or foreign clubs (in Spain, England and Italy).

“Here, the club posters remain at the bottom of the ladder.”In November 2019, Corinne Deacon warned. Before the European Championships, OL coach Sonia Bombastor invited for her part Leones and Parisien “Contribute with all their expertise so that France achieves the ultimate goal.” This means winning his first international title.

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