A well-organised bit of pressing saw France take an early lead in their opening match of the World Cup on home soil.
South Korea have the ball and France have retreated into a narrow 4-4-2 shape, making it difficult for the Koreans to pass into midfield without being surrounded by French players.
The ball is instead sent wide to Jang Sel-gi at left-back. Delphine Cascarino moves out to close Jang down while curving her run to block a pass down the line, forcing Jang to either attempt to dribble past her or pass back inside. Kadidiatou Diani moves up close to Kim Do-yeon, making a return pass difficult, and Amandine Henry follows Lee Young-ju as she moves back to provide a passing option for Jang.
Jang attempts a smart one-two with Lee, passing inside to the midfielder just as Cascarino comes in to tackle then making a run beyond her.
The pass is played to Young’s right foot and her body shape allows for an easy return pass to Jang, but, perhaps having already made up her mind under the pressure of Henry, she instead opts to take a touch backwards.
This only intensifies the pressure though: Diani is both close to Kim and blocking the angle for a pass back to the goalkeeper, it would be difficult to squeeze a pass forward past Henry but Cascarino is now blocking the return pass into Jang and, while a pass across to Hwang Bo-ram is partially open (Gaetane Thiney is close but could be avoided with a pass into the space behind Hwang), Young is likely unaware of it – her touch is backwards but also slightly towards the touchline, meaning she’s having to check over her right shoulder for Henry rather than her left where there would be a chance of her seeing the available pass.
Young tries to turn past Henry but the French captain easily claims the ball. Diani is first to the loose ball, holding off Kim, and flicks it into the path of Henry to attack down the outside.
Henry powers down the right while Diani sprints into the centre, both Young and Kim having to scramble to get back in their wake having lost their challenges. Thiney moves towards the far post, keeping on Hwang’s blindside and opening a gap at the near post for her or her teammates to attack.
As Henry crosses, Thiney makes a run to the near post, but Henry has chosen to cut the ball back. It’s Eugenie Le Sommer who finishes but it could have just as easily have been Diani, with the South Korean defenders unable to get back quick enough to challenge having been on the attack just seconds before.