Fatmire Bajramaj has won the FIFA Women's World Cup and the UEFA European Women's Championship with Germany, and top club honours with FCR 2001 Duisburg and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam. The Kosovo-born striker, 24, has not forgotten her first title, though, and tells UEFA.com about where it all began: at the 2006 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in Switzerland.
We beat France 3-0 in the final and there was a big crowd so it was a great experience. It was the first title I won with the national team. The senior national team is a big step up from the Under-19s, but it was an invaluable experience to see how a tournament unfolds. We had a great team and a lot of fun every day.
With games coming every three or four days, time just flew by. I didn't even feel homesick. The whole team had to share a single internet connection for the whole tournament, but my mother and my father called me daily so I managed to keep in regular contact with the outside world.
When you are 17 or 18 you don't have so much to worry about. You are just happy to be part of the team and to be playing in a tournament for Germany. In Switzerland, we worked well as a unit and there was a good atmosphere among the players. There was no sense of cabin fever. You learn how to use the time in between the games sensibly.
You learn that you don't have a training session the day after a game, but just do some recovery exercises. You learn how to prepare for a game, how to do proper training and also that you need to get enough sleep and keep an eye on nutrition. I also learned that you have to fight and give everything if you want to get your hands on a trophy.
Some players use a tournament like this as an opportunity to meet up with players from different countries, but that's not me: I more or less just say 'hi' and that's it, because I am just too focused on the task. I enjoyed taking a break in Switzerland, though. I remember that we had two afternoons off. We went out to go swimming and to do some shopping.
It's good to take the opportunity to leave the hotel and see something different. Becoming a European champion with the Under-19s is something I will never forget. If I were to give some advice to the girls at this summer's finals, I would say: perform well, have fun and have the will to win. The rest comes naturally.
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