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France had promised that despite having already won UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group C they would give their all against England, and so it proved as they played superbly to prevail 3-0 and eliminate the 2009 runners-up.
Captain Sandrine Soubeyrand, who could win her 200th cap if France reach the final, was delighted by their display and surprised by how easily they dominated England, while goalkeeper Céline Deville, given a go in place of Sarah Bouaddi, and playmaker Louisa Necib – superb on her 100th appearance – concurred. England duo Karen Carney and Fara Williams reflected on their exit and saluted France.
Sandrine Soubeyrand, France captain
We are delighted. We knew we had to win the third game to get some confidence and to respect our opponents and football. We were serious and courageous. We were strong and helped each other.
I'm a little bit surprised [by England] because they were one of the title contenders and they finished second at the last EURO. I think that compared to the [2011 FIFA Women's] World Cup, they were less organised. They didn't have a good basis in midfield and they seemed a bit lost. But this team is strong and showed for a long time that they were on top form. I thought they were a bit short physically – usually they give us a more tougher test in that sense. But they're a very good nation, an association that works hard and I'm sure they'll come back quickly among the top European teams
We played the World Cup [in Germany] and it was close to France. French people were coming but the stadiums were bigger and it seemed that there were fewer people. Here, the stadium is smaller, it was fantastic. Even English fans are people who support, it's great. We are happy to have been able to have a good game and score three goals. Our public comes and we have to respect them.
Céline Deville, France goalkeeper
We are satisfied, I'm really happy. On top of that, we've qualified for the quarter-finals, it's ideal. England are a very good team who play very well. We managed to be better and score some nice goals. We now have to win the quarter-final.
Louisa Necib, France midfielder & player of the match
I think I played like the team played: when the team enjoys playing, I personally enjoy playing. It's difficult to compare [the 2011 quarter-final penalty shoot-out win against England and today] because the games are totally different. A squad can change, players can evolve. France might have improved but I don't want to compare.
Karen Carney, England midfielder
The better team won. We just were not good enough. It wasn't a case of just one game, we didn't perform over three games so we unfortunately are out of the tournament. I wish France all the best, we are going to have to learn and reflect on this experience.
[Hope Powell said] just to remember the feeling. We'll bounce back again and just remember the lessons. It's not always going to be a rise, you are going to have to go through ups and downs and unfortunately this is a major down for us.
[France] were exceptional. Ten of their players play for Lyon and they all train together all the time so they are fluid and dynamic and know where they are coming from. That's a major difference between them and us. We don't touch the ball as much as them and we don't all play for the same team. Effectively it was England versus Lyon, which is a big difference. They were a great team, you have just got to give them credit. They will progress and I hope they do go on and do well throughout the tournament.
Fara Williams, England midfielder
We're disappointed. But not through the lack of effort, but sometimes the lack of quality. We gave everything on the pitch, it just so happened the French were better than us today.
I think we had spirit. I think we had everything, I think we had fight out there, I think that's what you look for, 100% if you're not performing. The girls gave that throughout the tournament, but it didn't click for us.
[France] were very good. We know that they're good. But on our day we're just as good as them. We played them in November, we drew and probably should have won the game. On our day we are probably just as good as them but today they were the better team. France are going to go on and progress, I'm sure they stand a chance of getting through to the final.
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