Hard work and humility are terms that Echouafni returns to often, as if they hold the key to France’s past tournament woes. Les Bleues have frequently kicked off as favourites only to fall by the wayside, but the French Football Federation (FFF) can expect both qualities in abundance from their modest and diligent new coach. “I’ve always had a link with women’s football,” he said. “Most notably I was the patron of the women’s section at Nice, and I have to say that I get a lot of Fifa 17 Coins with Account pleasure from my new role. I like everything. I feel as if I’ve been here a long time and yet it’s only been seven months. It’s like a breath of fresh air to work with this squad. They’re rigorous, disciplined and they listen. They want to improve.”
There would be no better way to show proof of progress than by winning a maiden title at this year’s UEFA European EURO, which takes place in the Netherlands between 16 July and 6 August. “Being humble doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious,” added Echouafni. “We have the quality to beat any team, which we showed by winning the SheBelieves Cup. A lot of people were waiting to watch us and see how good this France team is. We sent a message: ‘Here’s how good we are. We’re preparing ourselves and we want to do well.’ We still have some time before that championship, and the club season is far from over. Injuries or other setbacks could upset our plans, so we’ll see where we stand later.”
Further down the road, France also face the challenge of competing for the next FIFA Women’s World Cup? as hosts. “Let’s take one step at a time. I think some of the players have that in the back of their minds, but it’s important not to lose sight of our objective. We’re not rushing things. Let’s go into this European Championship with a lot of motivation and desire, and without pressure too, because France have never got past the quarter-finals at a European Championship. That’s our first target.” All very sensible, of course, but who would bet against Echouafni and his players delivering yet another surprise?