Just imagine for a moment that you prepared for an event for over a year, only to arrive and see your hopes shattered in the span of four days. This is what midfielder Vilde Bøe Risa and her Norway team-mates have had to come to terms with after losses to Germany and Finland barred their path to the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-finals.
The 18-year-old, who had her breakthrough season at first-tier Arna-Bjørnar last term, cannot hide her disappointment but remains in positive mood ahead of Norway's final match in Wales against Sweden. She already has one eye on next year, too, when she will still be eligible for what promises to be an extra special final tournament on home turf.
UEFA.com: You have come here with high expectations and now you are already out of the tournament. How does that feel?
Vilde Bøe Risa: It is very sad. We hoped to qualify for the [FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in 2014 by reaching the semi-finals here]. But we lost against Finland and that was not good. We should have won; we controlled the match and the ball in that game. It was lucky for them that they won and very sad for us.
UEFA.com: How bad a start to the tournament was that first half against Germany, when you went into the dressing room already 5-0 down?
Bøe Risa: That was a nightmare. I have never played such a good Germany team before. We were frightened. They were very strong and they had a lot of good players who already play for good teams in Germany. It was terrible for us. We then lost against Finland when we were the better team so everybody is sad, but I think it is a good learning experience for us.
UEFA.com: Looking ahead to your last match against Sweden, what is your goal?
Bøe Risa: We will go into it looking to win. We don't want to finish on bottom of our group so we are thinking of this match all the time and preparing as well as possible for it.
UEFA.com: You have a very young team, most of you can play again next year. Is that one of the reasons you didn't perform to plan?
Bøe Risa: Actually, I don't think so. A lot of us, I am one of them, are starting for our club teams already. I think it doesn't matter how old you are. We created a lot of chances but failed to take them. We really get a lot of big chances and a lot of shots, but we just don't score. So we need to work on that against Sweden. We have not scored a single goal so far but have conceded six.
UEFA.com: When you compare the experience you gain in the Norwegian first division at Arna-Bjørnar and those you gain here, how do they differ?
Bøe Risa: International tournaments are very important, I really hoped we could make it into the semi-finals. But at Arna-Bjørnar we are playing with older girls and learning from their experience, which is also important.
UEFA.com: How important is it to you to be able to play at this level again next year?
Bøe Risa: I am really happy and excited about that. It is going to be fun because by then we are going to be among the oldest and have some younger girls there who we can help.
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