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Playing with Grace: France’s ultimate team player finally gets the spotlight

Daniela Porcelli/SPP

France is yet to advance beyond the quarterfinals of a European Championship, but Les Bleues’ historic failings have never been about lack of talent.

Their challenge has always been to merge the players of Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain, to take great individuals and produce a team. That is certainly the objective of incumbent head coach Corinne Diacre. She uses the word “collective” constantly, and has talked briefly about “automatisms” (patterns of play rehearsed to the extent they become second nature on the field).

No other player represents this new idea of the France national team, this desired meeting of individual and collective, better than Grace Geyoro.

France demolished Italy 5-1 to open their EURO 2022 campaign, and Geyoro was at the heart of the display. She scored three goals, all in the first half, and was named player of the match. The 25-year-old was typically self-effacing in her post-game comments. “I was able to take my chances,” she told TF1. “It’s a pleasure to be decisive, to score, but also to enjoy it with the team. It was a great night for us all.”

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