On a sweltering night in Le Havre, Amandine Henry was at the bottom of a dog pile, but on top of the world. In the 107th minute of France’s World Cup Round of 16 game against Brazil, the France captain had beaten her defender and turned Amel Majri’s free kick into the back of the net with an outstretched leg for the go-ahead goal that would send Les Bleues on to the quarterfinals.
Henry beamed as she dug her way out from under a tangle of teammates. Along the touchline, the substitutes waited to salute their captain. On the surface, everything seemed to be going right. France’s dreams of a World Cup win on home soil were alive and well, and Henry seemed poised to lead the team to its first ever major tournament trophy.
A little more than a year later, Henry instead finds herself leading the team in a revolt against coach Corinne Diacre. In a candid interview that aired Sunday on Canal Football Club, Henry opened up about long-running unrest within the French national team and the increasingly strained relationship between the team’s star players and their coach.
“Ever since I put on cleats, I wanted to play for the French national team, I wanted to play in the World Cup, and to play in my home country was my absolute dream,” Henry explained. But the reality for France last summer was devastating. “I saw players crying in their rooms,” she said. “I personally cried in my room sometimes. I wanted to enjoy the World Cup, but in the end, it was total chaos.”
Henry’s comments are the latest in a series of high-profile criticisms of Diacre. The tension between the coach and France’s most decorated players leaves Les Bleues in a precarious position with major tournaments on the horizon as the country’s golden generation of players looks to end France’s trophy drought.
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