PARIS - Hervé Renard has been named France women's coach until 2024 and will lead the team at this year's World Cup, the French federation (FFF) said on Thursday.
The 54-year-old Frenchman resigned as coach of the Saudi Arabia men's team this week after leading them to last year's World Cup in Qatar where they pulled off a shock group-stage win over eventual champions Argentina.
Renard will unveil his squad for France's next two friendlies during his presentation on Friday. They face Colombia on April 7 and current Olympic champions Canada on April 11. The FFF sacked Corinne Diacre this month after captain Wendie Renard said she would not play at the World Cup if the coach remained in charge.
Ranked fifth in the world, France will be looking to win a first World Cup at this year's showpiece tournament from July 20-Aug. 20 in New Zealand and Australia.
Renard said after a 2-1 friendly loss to Bolivia in Jeddah last week that he felt he had taken Saudi Arabia as far as he could.
The flamboyant Renard led Zambia to a shock win in the African Nations Cup final against Ivory Coast in 2012. Three years later, he claimed his second continental crown by guiding Ivory Coast to the title by beating Ghana in the final to become the first coach to lift the trophy with two different teams. He also managed Morocco at the 2018 World Cup.
Diacre's position had become untenable after Wendie Renard said that she would not play at this year's World Cup to preserve her mental health. Fellow internationals Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani followed suit soon, all saying they were taking a step back from the national team.
Renard, widely considered one of the best defenders in women's football, played for France against Norway, Denmark and Uruguay last month. She was stripped of the captaincy by Diacre following France's quarterfinal exit at Euro 2017, before regaining the armband in 2021.
Diacre was also criticized at last year's European Championship in England for leaving senior players Amandine Henry and Eugénie Le Sommer, their all-time leading scorer, out of her squad.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)