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Making their UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship debut in an uncompromising section, Scotland could have been forgiven a hint of trepidation. There has not been a glimmer, however.
Indeed, the disappointment of an opening 4-2 defeat against Germany was offset by a stirring comeback from 3-0 down. Pauline Hamill's side were then arguably unfortunate not to take all three points in their goalless draw with Spain on matchday two. "Spain are technically very good, as are Germany, who are also quite physical. They both give you different problems and you can learn from everything they do," said captain Georgie Rafferty, who is savouring her tournament education.
"It's unbelievable. Even when we arrived here it hadn't sunk in that we were at a European Championship because teams like us are never expected to get there. The fact that we've come so far and proved how good we are is brilliant. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," added the 16-year-old defender.
Scotland must overcome France on Monday and hope other results go their way to seal a semi-final ticket, and striker Alyshia Walker is not ruling anything out. "We need to focus on our own game. We need to beat France and see where that takes us," she told UEFA.com. "We have learned a lot, we knew it was going to be quicker and much harder [than the qualifying games] but we've handled it really well."
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