Euro 2017: Switzerland 1-1 France - Camille Abily free-kick helps Les Blues into last eight

Despite being a woman and a goal down, France came back to secure qualification for the quarter-finals.

Euro 2017: Switzerland 1-1 France - Camille Abily free-kick helps Les Blues into last eight
French players celebrate after Camille Abily's equalizer. Source: Getty
Switzerland
1 1
France
Switzerland: Thallman; Maritz, Wälti, Kiwic, Crnogorčević; Dickenmann (C), Moser (Calligaris, min. 65), Bernauer, Zehnder (Reuteler, min. 79); Aigbogun (Terchoun, min. 79), Bachmann
France: Bouhaddi; Karchaoui, Renard (C), M'Bock Bathy, Perisset; Geyoro, Abily (Thiney, min. 87), Henry; Lavogez (Delie, min. 71), Le Sommer, Diani (Houara-D’Hommeaux, min. 83)
SCORE: 1-0, min. 19, Crnogorčević 1-1, min. 76, Abily
REFEREE: Referee Katalin Kulcsár (HUN). Admonished Renard (min. 14) Perisset (min. 17, red) Henry (min. 42) Bernauer (min. 66) Calligaris (min. 67) Dickenmann (min. 71)
INCIDENTS: European Championship group game between Switzerland and France. The match was played at Rat Verlegh Stadion in Breda.

There was everything to play for when Switzerland and France faced one another in their final group stage game. France were second in the table with four points (same amount as Austria in first), while Switzerland were third with three points.

It was the French team that started the game as expected, in control and with possession. It was also Les Bleues that had the first real chance of the game, when Camille Abily played a ball in behind the Swiss defence for Eugénie Le Sommer, but Rahel Kiwic made brilliant piece of defensive play and prevented the French striker from getting a shot away.

France continued their dominating display in the opening stages of the game, playing their characteristic quick-passing and skillful style of play. This resulted in France’s biggest chance of the half, when Claire Lavogez nearly finished off a wonderful French play, but her shot was fantastically saved by Gaëlle Thallman in the Swiss goal.

Rouge and goals

What the Swiss lacked in possession, they had in speed and cleverness on the counter. Ramona Bachmann was constantly a threat with her quick moves, which was a constant nuisance for the French defence. It was also on a counter-attack by Bachmann that caused the next big moment of the game, when Bachmann was stopped by Eve Perisset on the counter. Referee Katalin Kulcsár deemed that Perisset was the last defender and awarded her with a red card, leaving France down to ten women.

France were instantly punished by Switzerland when Martian Moser delivered an inch perfect free-kick, which Ana-Maria Crnogorčević headed in behind Sarah Bouhaddi in the French goal. France continued to press for that equaliser despite being a woman down, and created a number of chances, but struggled up to half-time.

The second-half mirrored the first in the sense that France dominated possession and continued to create chances. Despite being a woman down the French looked undeterred and continued with their game-plan, and out on the pitch you could not see that it was 11 versus 10.

It was evident that Switzerland were struggling to keep up, and their challenges became late and more frequent in their efforts to stop the French from finding their equaliser. One of those challenges, right on the edge of the area was all France needed.

Free-kick specialist Abily stepped up and curled a shot past both the Swiss wall and Thalmann in the Swiss goal. Thalmann, who had a splendid game up until this point, will be disappointed to have been beaten. 76 minutes had been played and the 1-1 score line meant that France would be the ones to advance, and that Switzerland would be heading home.

Switzerland pushed for a winning goal in the final minutes, and even got a last second free-kick in a good position. However, the free-kick was directly into the arms of Bouhaddi. The 1-1 score-line saw France come back from being on the brink of elimination despite being a woman down, while Switzerland must pack their bags and head home. Since Austria beat Iceland in the other game France finish second and will have to play the winner of Group D.  

Women's Football