The UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship finals kicked off on Tuesday with France and Germany winning through to the decider, and visitors to Nyon's Stade Colovray adjacent to UEFA's Swiss headquarters could also enjoy a number of family-friendly activities run parallel with the tournament.
Before both semi-finals, children from three Geneva schools were given the chance to show off their football skills during technical sessions organised by UEFA in conjunction with the cantonal football associations in Vaud (ACVF) and Geneva (ACGF). Aiding the sessions were Swiss women's internationals Marie-Andrea Egli, Rahel Graf, Martina Moser and captain Caroline Abbé, plus former FC Basel 1893 goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbühler.
The sessions included different skills stations set up across the pitch, including dribbling, passing and shooting, small-sided matches and co-ordination, enabling the youngsters to work on different aspects of their game - while having a lot of fun in the process.
Zuberbühler, capped 51 times, said: "It was very nice to be here and see all the kids playing, practising different exercises to improve different skills. This is a very important part of their development and it's fantastic that UEFA organise these sorts of events. What's more, at this age, kids take on ideas really quickly and so the rate of progress is fast.
"It's always a big pleasure to see children get better at football while playing and having fun. When I was this age we never had a chance to do these kinds of activities. It's very important for the future of football in Switzerland.
"At the moment I am working on my Level 3 goalkeeping coaching course from UEFA which I hope to complete this year and it's nice to be involved in events like this where you can see youngsters developing at football."
The footballing fun was completed by an adidas XXL inflatable Human Football Table while a DJ from official sponsors Rouge FM played music and broadcast live from the stadium. The schoolchildren were also given a guided tour of UEFA headquarters where they got the chance to have their photo taken with the UEFA Champions League trophy.
The festive atmosphere will continue this Friday before and after the third-place play-off between Denmark and Switzerland when school pupils from the canton of Vaud will visit UEFA HQ and enjoy skills sessions, this time put on by UEFA staff and tournament ambassador Ramona Bachmann. The Switzerland forward will also be available to sign autographs before the final between France and Germany.
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