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Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has moved on to greater things, but the 25-year-old French international still gets misty-eyed when he looks back to the 2005 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, where his side beat England in the final in Belfast.
"We played against England in the opening game and we drew, then we met them again in the final and we won 3-1," he told UEFA.com in this video interview. "I have great memories of my time with the youth teams. The majority of the players who won that U19 title went on to get professional contracts so we meet up on the pitch in the French league or in Europe from time to time. It was a great generation, and a few of us are now regulars with the senior national team.
"You don't necessarily need to play with a youth national team to turn pro, but a lot of players come through the youth ranks and go on to have great careers. Playing in these competitions helps you to develop faster as a player. Top-level youth games give you a chance to play at an even higher standard, because domestic youth football can only take you so far.
"The team was a bunch of friends. We were all 18 or 19, and it was such a great thing just to be playing for France, and even more special to do so in a UEFA competition. We won that tournament because we were good, of course, but also because we really wanted to get that trophy."
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