- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

MONTREAL (AP) - There is no danger that France is looking past South Korea in the women’s World Cup to a potential quarterfinal matchup against Germany.

Les Bleues are too busy looking back - to their group-stage loss to Colombia.

Having coasted into Canada with a 10-0 record, outscoring its opponents 54-3 in qualifying, France was among the favorites to reach the semifinals for the second consecutive World Cup. But after beating England 1-0 in the opener, the French were stunned 2-0 by Colombia, a loss that ranks among the biggest upsets in World Cup history.

Now that they’ve entered the knockout stage, the French can’t afford another letdown.

“We’ll have to respect our adversary,” France captain Wendie Renard said Saturday before practice at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. “When you look at the classifications on paper, everyone will say we’re superior. But on the pitch, nothing is given.”

South Korea knows it is a big underdog in Sunday’s match.

“France is such a powerhouse. Everyone knows that,” Korean midfielder Cho Sohyun said. “But the ball is round, and you never know what will happen on the pitch. We made it through this round and we never intend to lose.”

Here are some other things to look for when France, the Group F winner, plays South Korea, which finished second in Group E:


The Colombia loss still stings for France.

Coach Philippe Bergeroo would like to see his players perform more like they did against Mexico, when they scored just 34 seconds into the game, than they did against Colombia, when they fell behind in the 19th minute.

“I think what is essential is to be present as soon as the game starts,” Bergeroo said.

Marie Delie’s header 34 seconds into the game against Mexico was the second-fastest goal in World Cup history. France scored three times in the first 13 minutes and went on to win 5-0.

“We needed a reaction against Mexico, because in the game against Colombia not everything was solved,” Bergeroo said.


The crowd may be speaking French, but South Korea is hoping for a bit of a home-field advantage when it meets France in Montreal.

“The French players will use this pitch for the first time,” Cho said. “We had difficulties when we first played here. We have already adapted. We will capitalize on that advantage as much as possible.”

Built for the 1976 Olympics, the stadium originally had a retractable orange roof that was later replaced with a permanent blue one that gives the building a unique feel. It will be the first time the French have played indoors during this tournament, though they did arrive in Montreal before the start of the World Cup to acclimate to the North American time zones.

“It’s important to be here and get used to the weather as well, but we trained in an open stadium,” Renard said. “Now it will be different.”


South Korea finished 14th - scoring only one goal and losing all three matches - during its only other World Cup appearance, in 2003.

But it tied Costa Rica in the second match of group play and then beat Spain 2-1 in the Group E finale for its first-ever World Cup win.

“Now that we have this maiden win, we are not satisfied,” Cho said. “We can make another history, and we are very aware of that fact. We are motivated. We couldn’t be any more motivated than this.”


The one bit of looking ahead Bergeroo was willing to engage in was not to next week’s quarterfinal: It is to the 2019 World Cup.

The coach said it was important for his team to have a strong showing this year to help build support for the team and the tournament when it comes to France.

“It’s very important for women’s football,” he said. “What matters as well is 2019; that’s coming up. If we’re able to have a good World Cup and prepare properly, that can open some extraordinary horizons for women’s football.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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