Helena Ciak (1.97 m, 32 years old) is the player with the most appearances for the French national team present at the World Cup (123 selections before the competition) and tells “L’Équipe” the background of the match played in Sydney (Australia) . Episode 3: Life on a game day.
In this World Cup, the French team plays at very different times, which sometimes changes our routine during the day. But in general, both in the national team and in the club, the organization around the matches is rather the same.
before going to the room
If I take the example of our match against Mali, by appointment at 2:30 p.m., there is no commitment in the morning, except for the video session -there is always a video session- at 10:00 a.m. Other than that, it’s free. Personally, I wake up around eight o’clock, it’s breakfast and I go for a walk to wake up my muscles (always this story about not staying in my room for long). Some players can sleep, wake up for lunch, and move on. If the match takes place later in the evening, a shooting session is always offered, with final adjustments.
Everything is a la carte. In this World Cup, we arrive 1h30 before kick-off. Once in the locker room, everyone has their own preference. Some, like Alexia (Chartereau), like to take thirty minutes of direct shots -he also does it at the club-, others stay in the locker room and wake up the muscles, with rubber bands, rollers and others. Match information is displayed on the sheets. I like to take the time to read what the coaches have written down, the game plan, we also write words of encouragement.
For my part, I start my “warm-up” on the edge of the field with a rubber band, to activate the body. It’s not muscle building, but it gets me going. Only then do I take a ball and shoot.
There are few girls with helmets. Music is a good way to put yourself in your bubble when you need it. There, between us we talk, we laugh, we sleep, it’s nice. Even Marine Johannès, who stays with us, gets involved in the moment and really creates a good atmosphere. On the other hand, we must admit that in the Superdome, the GM is not very efficient!
After the coach’s talk, just before going out onto the field for the last part of qualifying, we stayed for a moment between the players. The captain speaks, Sarah (Michel), sometimes Alexia too, to motivate us, to start our match between us. Is essential.
After the match
In the locker room after the game, we often report while waiting for the coach and all the players to arrive. There is small talk and we go to the cold bathroom for those who need it. It’s great for recovery. In Sydney, on the other hand, we don’t shower in the locker room as the hotel is next door. This was not the case at the Tokyo Games where, given the travel time, it was worth taking to the hall.
Then, depending on the meal (19:30 after Mali for example), there are moments of free time. Many times we take the opportunity to call the family, relax, play cards. It’s also a way to recover knowing that more often than not we’ll continue the next day. And of course, when possible, we watch the games in the afternoon, which allows us to obtain information about the opponents. Can still be used!