And finally Renard came. Three weeks after the eviction of Corinne Deacon from her position as coach, the Bleues therefore have confirmation of her replacement by Hervé Renard, formalized this Thursday, March 30 by an executive committee of the French Football Federation convened exceptionally to validate her appointment until in August 2024.
To be able to take control of the France team, Hervé Renard had to end the contract which bound him to the Saudi Federation, the native of Aix-les-Bains assuming since 2019 the function of coach of the Faucons d’ Saudi Arabia. Breaking with a workforce that had demonstrated its know-how at the last World Cup by winning in the first match over future world champions Argentina (2-1) was no small feat for a technician who often leads to the affective. Hervé Renard was to accompany his players until 2027, and he waited until the end of the two friendly matches scheduled for March 24 and 28 against Venezuela and Bolivia (two 1-2 defeats) to announce his departure in a video where his emotion was.
Finally shine in France
Leaving Saudi Arabia, he also gives up a monthly salary of €300,000 for a position that Corinne Deacon occupied for ten times less. Suffice to say that his transfer should result in a shortfall which also measures the determination of the man to return to France. Because Hervé Renard was never a prophet in his country, and no doubt this bitter taste of botched experiences has something to do with his motivation.
The technician indeed has a flattering CV, but which rhymes with “elsewhere”. With Africa, which was his chosen land for a long time: he won two continental titles, with Zambia in 2012 and Côte d’Ivoire in 2015, and laid the foundations of Moroccan excellence with a fine career during the World 2018.
Conversely, his stints in France as a club coach did not show such performance. Arrived as a savior in October 2013 in Sochaux, he certainly straightened out the team by achieving an impressive second part of the championship, but did not manage to avoid relegation to Ligue 2 at the end of the season.
A year later, he signed for three years with Lille, but he landed for lack of results after 13 games (and only 13 points won). An eviction for him synonymous with injustice, which still hangs in a corner of his memory.
It is a new challenge, quite singular, that he takes up for once in France. Still in national football, which he knows by heart, but with a women’s team, a big first for him.
Hervé Renard will be able to put his sense of adaptation, one of his key words, to the test. The presence of Eric Blahic by his side as assistant coach should help him, the technician having already worked with the Blue from January 2020 to June 2021.
A tough challenge in an emergency
Certainty: time is running out. The first meeting of Les Bleues in Oceania for the World Cup is set for July 23 against Jamaica. Hervé Renard therefore has barely more than three months to impose his mark and habits that are the opposite of those of Corinne Deacon.
The coach is rather charismatic and focused on listening and dialogue, a striking contrast to his predecessor with rough communication and rather stiff interpersonal skills. Who to play his new score? The answers will be given quickly, the list of players selected for the next friendly matches (April 7 against Colombia and April 11 against Canada) to fall as of this Friday, March 31.
Les Bleues on their side can be satisfied with an appointment meeting the needs of consideration expressed by the rebel players who caused the dismissal of Corinne Deacon. Hervé Renard is a high-flying technician who shares the ambition claimed by the players. He replaces a woman, one of the few very high-level coaches, and no woman is currently in the new management of Les Bleues. But this element, at the time of emerging from the crisis, is obviously another story.