Euro féminin 2022 - France - Belgique : Aïssatou Tounkara versus Griedge Mbock, le duel des amies

Euro féminin 2022 – France – Belgique : Aïssatou Tounkara versus Griedge Mbock, le duel des amies

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From our special correspondent in Rotherham,

Mbock-Renard, the best hinge in the world? We’re not far from it, it’s really tough“, Laura Georges had smiled at us before the start of this Euro. surprise, a real one, when the first composition of the Bleues for this Euro was unveiled for the match against Italy (5-1): it was finally Aïssatou Tounkara who was the tandem of the French captain for this successful introduction .

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A decision assumed by Corinne Deacon afterwards. “I have to make choices, that of establishing Aïssatou has been carefully consideredshe explained at a press conference. She hasn’t been injured this season, while Griedge has been sidelined for a long time“Since then, uncertainty has reigned: will Tounkara’s takeover last?

The Atlético de Madrid player, free from any contract, is held in high esteem by Corinne Deacon and will have been a fundamental piece in the new group built since the 2019 World Cup. The proof is the most outfield player used since. An observation facilitated by a fact that continues to weigh in the mind of Deacon: the serious injuries of Mbock.

Aïssatou Tounkara – Griedge Mbock, the duel between two French friends

Credit: Quentin Guichard

Friends, partners and competitors

Undisputed holder in Bleues in normal times, third most selected player of the troop retained for this Euro, the Lyonnaise lived an ordeal which will have lasted almost eighteen months. On June 4, 2020, during individual training, she suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. First operation. But, in November 2020, a second intervention becomes necessary and its unavailability grows. It is only in September 2021 that she returns to competition and in November that she finds the selection. In the meantime, Tounkara has proven herself and impressed the staff with her warrior mentality, becoming vice-captain of Les Bleues.

A duel all the more disturbing for the two as they have been linked since a young age. “Before being competitors, they are friendsexplains Gilles Eyquem, former youth coach. I’m sure that Griedge wants to play and take her place in this hinge, but the fact that it’s Aïssatou… They really like each other and she’s a supporter of Aïssatou. And the other way around it’ll be the same“.

Associated in pivot during the U17 world title in Azerbaijan in 2012, they impressed Eyquem from the start. “They arrived crowned with this title of world champion and, immediately, they took an important place in the group.he explains. They got along wonderfully, they had played together since their debut as youngsters and they were very complementary. It was a very effective pair. And they are both competitors to death“.

Griedge Mbock and Aïssatou Tounkara during the U17 World Cup in 2012

Credit: Getty Images

I still keep Gledge

Complementary because different. Against Italy, the desire to follow the Girelli threat as closely as possible prompted Deacon to choose Tounkara. “If we had to summarize: Aïssatou, it’s aggressiveness, Griedge, it’s feetsmiles Gilles Eyquem. Even if Griedge was a player with a strong athletic dimension, Aïssatou dominated her in this area. And, conversely, Aïssatou sometimes had burning feet (laughs). But it worked well: she knew her limits and therefore let Griedge manage the raises but, when it was necessary to go to the coal, she was always there. There was really a complicity and, outside, it was the same“.

But for the future, can the Tounkara choice prevail? In a press conference, Corinne Deacon did not venture into this field. “We work with a groupshe explained. There are only eleven starting places so there are eleven who are starting and twelve who are waiting. But those who wait have the same state of mind as those who start because we can need everyone especially for the rest of the competition“.

I still keep Gledge“, advances for his part Eyquem. Similar story at Patrice Lair, with L’Equipe: “The best hinge is Griedge and Wendie, there is no photo. It’s speed, technical confidence, tactical experience. We will need it against the big teams“. But will Corinne Deacon follow the vox populi?

It was finally Jessica Houara, consultant for Canal + who best summed up the situation: “I am clearly more than surprisedshe said on Sunday. Normally, Aïssatou Tounkara rather plays on the left with Griedge Mbock on the right. On the friendly matches, Aïssatou played on the right, normally Griedge should have played on the right to have his automatisms. When I see the images in my head, Aïssatou was playing on the right. Wasn’t this the beginning of what she wanted to do for this start of the Euro, was it not Aïssatou who became a starter in her head?“. Response Thursday.

Aïssatou Tounkara, Sandie Toletti and Griedge Mbock carry the French flag

Credit: Getty Images

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