WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
Who is in France’s squad for the 2023 World Cup in Australia, NZ?
France head coach Hervé Renard has announced Les Bleues’ squad for the World Cup, which gets underway on 20 July.
Real Madrid forward Naomie Feller has been included in France’s squad for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the 21-year-old earning her place in Les Bleues’ travelling party amid injuries to major figures in the French attack.
France will go to Australia and New Zealand without forwards of the calibre of Delphine Cascarino and Marie-Antoinette Katoto, who both miss out through injury. This has opened the door for Feller, who has played just three times for France, to earn an unexpected place on the plane together with another young forward, Lyon’s uncapped 19-year-old Vicki Bécho.
Henry in for France after long absence
Despite travelling down under with key absentees, France are among the favourites to lift the trophy, having benefited from Hervé Renard’s appointment as head coach in March. Renard’s World Cup squad, which was announced on Wednesday, is also notable for the return of midfielder Amandine Henry, two and a half years since her last international appearance.
Renard looks to Feller, Bécho for “dynamism”
“I’ve followed them closely,” Renard said of Feller and Bécho on Wednesday. “They’re two young players who need to bring their desire and their talent to the squad with Cascarino and Katoto out injured. They’ll offer us dynamism, which is always a good thing […]. Sometimes you have to look for other resources to achieve big things.”
The France boss also pointed to the “versatility” offered by the pair, who have starred for their clubs this year. Asked about the No. 9 position - an issue of concern in France ahead of the World Cup - Renard added: “When I look at the list, I have six forwards, six who can all lead the line.”
Drawn in Group F alongside Brazil, Jamaica and Panama, France kick off their World Cup campaign against the Jamaicans on 23 July.
Breakthrough season at Real Madrid
Among Madrid’s signings last summer, Feller has quickly established herself as an important player for Las Blancas’ head coach, Alberto Toril. He has included her in his starting line-up in key moments in the season, such as last month’s Copa de la Reina final victory over city rivals Atlético Madrid.
Feller’s career has not been without its setbacks, though. An under-19 European champion with France, she earned a loan move to Lyon in 2020, the French giants turning to the forward to replace Ada Hegerberg, who had been ruled out with a long-term injury. However, Feller succumbed to a cruciate ligament injury, and was restricted to just two appearances for the club.
After spending almost an entire season on the sidelines, it wasn’t until 2022 that she was able to shine once more, earning a move from Reims to Madrid. “We don’t have an attacking player like her,” Toril has said. First called up to France’s senior squad in October, Feller promises to be one of the youngsters to watch at the World Cup.