Three French star players sign off for World Cup: ‘Want to maintain mental health’
Wendie Renard, the captain of the French national team, will not be going to next summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The 32-year-old Olympique Lyon defender criticized the French federation in a statement, saying she is choosing to take care of her own mental health.
What exactly that means, Renard does not further explain. She only let it be known that she will not be going to the World Cup. Internationals and star attackers Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto have also opted out – without giving a reason.
Renard: “I can no longer support the current system, which is far from the requirements at this level. Under such conditions, I’m not going to play this World Cup. My face can hide the pain, but my heart hurts. I don’t want to have any more pain. It’s a sad day, but a necessary decision to preserve my mental health.”
At 1.87 meters, Renard has been one of France’s star players in recent years. She has so far scored no less than 34 goals in 142 international matches. On Tuesday, she played the entire match in a friendly against Norway (0-0).
Trouble with the French team is not unusual since national coach Corinne Diacre has been in charge. She has already been at odds with many players. For example, Lyon star players Eugénie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry already decided not to go to the European Championship last year after a conflict with Diacre. Whether the same is now the case with Renard is not known.
The World Cup in Australia and New Zealand begins on July 20. France is assigned to pool F with Brazil, Jamaica and Panama. The Netherlands is in pool E with Portugal, Vietnam and the United States and could meet France only in the final.