Kadidiatou Diani might have feared she was going to miss the Women's World Cup when she suffered a fractured collarbone towards the end of last season, but the 28-year-old returned to fitness in time and has played a key role on France's run to the quarter-finals.

Diani followed up a hat-trick, including two penalties, in a 6-3 win over Panama in the group stage by scoring the opener in France's 4-0 thrashing of Morocco in the last 16 that set up a showdown with co-hosts Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

Only Japan's Hinata Miyazawa, with five, has scored more goals than Diani, who has also laid on three assists at the tournament, including two for her strike partner, Eugenie Le Sommer.

Those numbers indicate that a last-minute tactical change before the tournament by French coach Herve Renard was an inspired move.

Diani played on the right wing of a 4-3-3 when France lost 1-0 to Australia in Melbourne in a friendly on July 14. Renard then abruptly changed to a 4-4-2 with Diani moving through the middle.

Les Bleues misfired in a goalless draw with Jamaica but have scored 12 in three matches since then. Yet Diani does not especially enjoy her new position.

"I think I prefer being on the wing. The only advantage is that I score more goals," she told French sports daily L'Equipe last month.

"Sometimes you go 20 minutes without touching the ball and that is difficult for me because I like to have it."

Renard's decision to play Diani through the middle came after she finished last season as the top scorer in the French league with 17 goals for Paris Saint-Germain.

That was despite her season ending prematurely when she injured her right collarbone in PSG's UEFA Champions League defeat by German club Wolfsburg in March.

She was filling in for prolific goal-scorer Marie-Antoinette Katoto, who has not played since suffering a serious knee injury while with France at last year's European Championship in England.

There had been hope that Katoto might return for the World Cup, but the tournament in Australia and New Zealand came around too soon, and so Diani is again filling in through the middle.

"We needed to show a bit of patience with Kady after her injury at the end of March, but we knew she was going to come back and score goals for us like she did in the league last season," said Renard after France brushed Morocco aside in Adelaide on Tuesday.

Lyon's new recruit

Even without her injury, Diani –- who comes from the fertile footballing breeding grounds of the Paris suburbs -- could have missed the World Cup.

She joined Katoto and captain Wendie Renard in stating publicly earlier this year that she would not play for her country if Corinne Diacre remained as coach.

The revolt led to Diacre being sacked in March and Herve Renard leaving his job as the Saudi Arabia men's coach to replace her.

"It was not an easy decision. It was something I thought long and hard about," Diani said recently about choosing to take part in the revolt.

"But I was not the only one. There were others who felt the way I did but did not say anything. I was prepared to kiss goodbye to the World Cup, but our message was heard in the end."

The change of coach seems to be paying off, although France must overcome a hostile atmosphere in Brisbane to make the semi-finals.

Once the tournament ends, Diani can look forward to a new challenge at club level after she left PSG under freedom of contract.

Last week, just after netting her hat-trick against Panama, Diani signed a four-year deal with French champions Lyon.

"I had been at PSG for six years, so for me it was time to move on. I had a great time there," said Diani, who had been a target for Chelsea but will now join the likes of Le Sommer and Ada Hegerberg in attack for the record eight-time Champions League winners.

First of all, though, she has a World Cup to win.