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France to play Australia in lead-up to Women’s World Cup

The French women’s football team will play Australia in a Bastille Day friendly leading up to the Women’s World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday. 

Football Australia said they were “delighted” to be hosting France — currently ranked fifth in the world — for their last warm-up game on July 14 in Melbourne. 

Australia and New Zealand are co-hosting the showpiece tournament, which runs from July 20 to August 20. 

Australian Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson praised France as a “dynamic, technically brilliant team”. 

“France have been consistently one of the best nations in the world with incredible quality across all parts of their game,” he said in a statement. 

“It will be one final challenge for us just days out from our World Cup opener.” 

France are scrambling to rebuild their side after three of their best players abruptly quit last week. 

Captain Wendie Renard, one of the game’s best defenders, said pulling out of the World Cup was the “only way” to protect her mental health. 

Within an hour of the 32-year-old Lyon centre-back’s announcement, Paris Saint-Germain pair Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto also announced they no longer wished to play for France.

Australia are ranked 12th in the world but are riding high after winning their last three matches in a row, including a 3-2 victory over heavyweights Spain. 

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