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For a centre-back a clean sheet is usually cause for celebration, yet France captain Aymeric Laporte was more concerned with matters at the other end of the pitch after his side opened the UEFA European Under-19 Championship with a goalless draw against Georgia.
Les Bleus, champions in 2005 and 2010, largely had the edge in Alytus but were unable to fashion a breakthrough meaning – despite a fourth successive clean sheet following three elite round shut-outs – there was an element of frustration in the post-match debrief. "From our side it was quite a very good match, although we did have a few occasions and we lacked sharpness," Laporte told UEFA.com.
Our attitude was good, there's nothing to reproach the team for there; I'm proud of my team-mates. What was missing was goals and in a competition like this, goals are very important. We’ll have to address that in the next match."
Georgia, however, put in a solid and disciplined performance, also carrying their own elite round form – when they finished ahead of England, Belgium and Scotland to earn a first finals appearance – into the tournament. "Georgia had some very tall players and were very physical," Laporte said. "I still think we were the better side though."
As captain, the Athletic Club defender took it upon himself to deliver his post-match verdict to the team in the Alytus Stadium dressing rooms. "I said it was a good result and we'd played well, but that we need to take our chances and score some goals," he said. "We played well up to the attacking part but we need to make sure we score some goals as well. In terms of our overall play we did well, perhaps we were a bit short of aggression but getting some goals is the most important thing."
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