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July 13, 2011
Background on the U.S.'s semifinal foes

Here are some things you should know about France, which will play the United States in the Women's World Cup semifinals at noon on Wednesday (ESPN).

* France won 11 of their 12 qualifying matches, scoring 53 total goals while allowing two. The only team the French did not defeat was Italy, which earned a 0-0 draw against Les Bleus in the first leg of their playoff tie before going down 3-2 in the return match.

* Midfielder Camille Abily won a Women's Professional Soccer championship with FC Gold Pride in 2010, playing alongside U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, defender Rachel Buehler, midfielder Shannon Boxx and midfielder Kelly O’Hara.
Sonia Bompastor played on the Washington Freedom in WPS with Abby Wambach and Becky Sauerbrunn.

* Central midfielder Sandrine Soubeyrand is France’s all-time most capped player with more than 150 caps.

* France’s first appearance at a WWC came in 2003 when the tournament was played in the U.S. Marinette Pichon and her teammates missed out on a place in the last eight after losing to Norway, beating Korea Republic and drawing with Brazil in the first round.

* Defender Laura Georges and midfielder Elise Bussaglia are the only two players that have been on the field for every minute of France’s WWC campaign – a total of 390 minutes apiece. Each player also scored a goal in the tournament.
Forwards Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie lead the team in goals with two each.

* French goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz was suspended for the quarterfinal match against England after receiving the first red card of the tournament against Germany for taking down Fatmire Bajramaj in the penalty area, but is eligible for the semifinal.

* France is appearing in the WWC for the second time, with its only prior appearance coming with a group stage exit during USA 2003.

* Bruno Bini has been France’s head coach since February of 2007. He guided Les Bleus to the second round of the 2009 UEFA Women’s EURO competition for the first time before falling to the Netherlands on penalties in the quarterfinals. He has been coaching national women’s teams since 1993 and guided France’s Under-19 side to the European title seven years ago.

This information was provided by U.S. Soccer.

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