France coach Bruno Bini was left delighted after his team booked their ticket to the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 finals with a 4-0 win against the Republic of Ireland.
Les Bleues confirmed top spot in qualifying Group 4 with a game remaining after two goals from Eugénie Le Sommer and one apiece from Élodie Thomis and substitute Julie Morel, on debut, sunk Irish hopes in Guingamp. "It reminded me of what happened two months ago," said Bini, recalling his side's troubles in front of goal at the London Olympics as they lost their semi-final and the match for third place.
"Scoring goals is never easy and that's the reason why I didn't criticise my strikers. The luck was just against us then. It's not the case any more and I am over the moon to spend another summer with these girls because it is a huge pleasure."
France have made it through to the final four in their last two major tournaments – the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup and 2012 Olympics – but were unable to reach the showpiece on either occasion. "We've put our Olympic Games disappointment aside," said Thomis, who has four goals in her six qualifying appearances so far. "We're up for another big tournament now and this time we want to bring back the trophy."
Bini, though, struck a more cautious note than the Olympique Lyonnais winger. "Reaching the last four is far from easy," said the coach, who has held the post since 2007. "It may even be harder in a European championship than a world tournament. There are some great nations through to the finals."
France will now travel to Scotland for their final Group 4 fixture on Wednesday, but Bini is already looking further ahead, saying he hopes a friendly with Germany can be organised in the build-up.
As for debutant Morel, she was left to savour her strike, and she is hungry for additional opportunities to prove her worth. "I could not hope for more," said the EA Guingamp player. "This is an unforgettable night. Hopefully more will come."
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