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Durand and France ready to topple German ogre

Published: Monday 26 August 2013, 13.12CET
France's failure to take their chances has set up a difficult path to the final but captain Solène Durand is not concerned, saying: "We're saving our goals for the game against Germany."
by Sébastien Blanchard
from Swansea
Durand and France ready to topple German ogre
France goalkeeper Solène Durand photographed in Swansea ©Sportsfile
Published: Monday 26 August 2013, 13.12CET

Durand and France ready to topple German ogre

France's failure to take their chances has set up a difficult path to the final but captain Solène Durand is not concerned, saying: "We're saving our goals for the game against Germany."

Goalkeeper Solène Durand admitted France would have preferred to avoid the "German ogre" but having achieved their first objective, Gilles Eyquem's side are ready for the next.

With five minutes of matchday three to go, France were sitting pretty at the Group A summit but two late England goals elsewhere usurped them, consigning Les Bleuettes to second place on goal difference. So rather than face a semi-final against an impressive Finland side returning to these finals after eight years away, the might of four-time winners Germany awaits France.

"The bench kept us informed about the scores, mostly Denmark v England, which is why at the end after the English scored twice we were sending long balls forward to score, but it did not work out," skipper Durand told UEFA.com after Sunday's 3-0 victory over Wales in Haverfordwest. "We had a lot of missed chances but that is football, we cannot score from every opportunity. We are saving our goals for the Germany game."

France may have to work a bit harder at the back too, to dampen the creativity of Lina Magull and Theresa Panfil and keep a handle on five-goal tournament top scorer Pauline Bremer. However, Durand cautions against getting too preoccupied with Wednesday's opponents in Llanelli. "It will be up to us to play our football, no need to play too much in defence," said the 18-year-old Montpellier Hérault SC player. "Against Germany we should play our own game, which is quite attacking.

"Our first objective in Wales was to qualify for the [2014 FIFA] U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada, that's now done. We are still here, it is true we wanted to finish top of the group to avoid the German ogre, but we have to beat them whether it is in the semis or the final so we will take the match as it comes and give everything. I am confident we can do it."

France have not beaten Germany in six previous attempts at the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, though they won on penalties in the most recent encounter in the last four in 2010, en route to taking the title. Durand herself has recent success to draw on, as one of seven players in this squad that two summers ago ousted Germany on spot kicks in the WU17 semi-finals – they lost the final to Spain.

Yet that was then, this is now, and Durand is focusing on adding fresh know-how. "It is a great competition," the custodian said. "It is a great experience and a great pleasure to take part in these tournaments. For me it was the priority of the season. My second target is to lift the trophy so I will try and do it."

Last updated: 05/09/13 21.06CET

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