By Jaime Spencer
Herve Renard has been appointed as the new coach of the French women’s national team, replacing Corinne Diacre following her recent dismissal.
Renard will lead The blues at the 2023 World Cup, where they will be among the favorites to lift the trophy, and has signed a contract that will last until after the 2024 Olympics.
The 54-year-old has achieved fame as a globetrotting international coach over the past 15 years, most recently guiding Saudi Arabia to the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar.
His team earned a shock group stage win over eventual champions Argentina in their opening match, though they were still eliminated at the first hurdle after losing both of their next games.
Renard has worked extensively in men’s football in Africa, with his previous assignments including Morocco, the Ivory Coast, Zambia and Angola. As such, he was CAF Coach of the Year three times and both Côte d’Ivoire and Zambia won the Africa Cup of Nations under his watch.
Spells at men’s club level in France were relatively short-lived. His Sochaux side suffered relegation in 2014, while he lasted just 13 league games at Lille before being sacked.
Renard has never worked in women’s football before.
His stay in France began immediately with April friendlies against Colombia and Canada. The World Cup for The blues starts on July 23 in Sydney against Jamaica, with subsequent group stage matches against Brazil and the first qualifying match against Panama.
Why was Corinne Diacre fired?
Corinne Diacre was sacked after six years as France head coach in early March. She followed three of the country’s biggest stars – Wendie Renard, Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto – leaving herself out of international selection until changes were made.
Lyon superstar Renard had said he “…can no longer sustain the current system, far from the requirements demanded by the highest level. It’s a sad day but necessary to preserve my sanity. It is with a heavy heart that I write this message to inform you of my decision to step back from the French team. Unfortunately, I won’t play in this World Cup in these conditions.”
It was reported at the time that he intended not to play for France as long as Diacre was in charge.
Diacre, herself a former French international with more than 120 caps, latched on, labeling the criticism a “destabilisation operation” motivated by “settling scores”.
But the French Football Federation decided to terminate his contract.
Diacre’s list of past controversies is long. After falling out with Renard in 2017 and handing the captaincy over to Amandine Henry, a falling out with Henry in 2021 resulted in the armband reverting to Renard. Diacre also apologized to Eugenie Le Sommer in 2019 after being publicly critical of the player, while Gaetene Thiney spoke out against her coaching methods in 2020.
Veteran goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi retired from international football indefinitely in July 2020, citing a “very, very negative environment” and turned down a call-up two months later.
France were seen underperforming at the World Cup on home soil in 2019, with Henry stating at the end of 2021: “I’ve seen girls crying in their room, I’ve personally cried in my room, because I wanted to experience this World Cup, but it was total chaos, she also accused Diacre of abandoning her as punishment for approaching then French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet about problems.
This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Herve Renard hired as new coach of France Women.