France's preparations for UEFA Women's EURO 2013 came to an unhappy conclusion with an unexpected 2-0 home loss to a young Australia team in Angers.
After seeing his side concede a goal in each half to Brisbane Roar duo Tameka Butt and Katrina Gorry, France coach Bruno Bini had plenty to ponder less than a week before their first game in Sweden. The defeat – mitigated slightly by the absence of the rested Louisa Necib, Amandine Henry and Laure Boulleau – ended Les Bleues' 11-match unbeaten run stretching back to the Olympic Games bronze-medal play-off against Canada last August.
It was also the squad's first friendly defeat in 26 such fixtures, yet Bini appeared unfazed afterwards, saying: "We're not worried. Our aim is the competition and we'll draw conclusions after that. We will talk and assess the fatigue of every player. We failed to make good decisions tonight but that is also down to tiredness. You will see us score at the EURO."
Beaten 3-1 by France's fellow EURO contenders Netherlands on 29 June, the Matildas repelled the hosts' pressure in the opening exchanges before silencing the Jean Bouin Stadium in Angers, in the west of the country, on 36 minutes. Marauding into the box, attacking midfielder Butt kept her composure to volley in after France goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi had missed the ball from a corner.
In the second half, Camille Abily was denied from the spot by Australia keeper Lydia Williams, who also frustrated Gaëtane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie. Visiting coach Hesterine de Reus was able to celebrate 20 minutes from time as diminutive substitute Gorry, 20, let fly from 25 metres into the top corner for a sumptuous second.
Les Bleues headed to their Clairefontaine base after the game where they will spend Sunday before flying to Sweden on Monday. Bini's team kick off their Women's EURO campaign against Russia in Norrkoping on Friday, 12 July, before further Group C tests against France and England. France remain unbeaten against European opposition in nearly two years.
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