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Late push for victory leaves Les Bleuettes delighted

Published: Saturday 31 August 2013, 22.29CET
Stand-in skipper Solène Durand was thrilled that France were able to raise their game to seal victory in extra time – a sign of their mental strength according to Sandie Toletti.
by John Atkin & Sébastien Blanchard
from Parc y Scarlets

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Published: Saturday 31 August 2013, 22.29CET

Late push for victory leaves Les Bleuettes delighted

Stand-in skipper Solène Durand was thrilled that France were able to raise their game to seal victory in extra time – a sign of their mental strength according to Sandie Toletti.

France trio Solène Durand, Sandie Toletti and Aminata Diallo expressed a combination of joy, relief and fatigue as they analysed their UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship triumph. Les Bleuettes needed extra time to edge out England 2-0 and Toletti, scorer of the crucial first goal in Llanelli, said that ultimately "mental strength was the key". England captain Sherry McCue agreed, but her pride remained undimmed.

Solène Durand, France captain
We are very happy. Our objective was to win this title and qualify for the [FIFA U-20 Women's] World Cup and we did both. We are going to celebrate tonight. We struggled to play our game; we were a bit timid, a bit scared. It is true that we had difficulty getting into the match but we were able to raise our game and during extra time we played our own football and it paid off.

Sandie Toletti, France forward
It was difficult and we had to wait for extra time to score. We had chances but could not take them. Then both teams were tired and mental strength was the key. Now we are going back to our clubs and the next U19 meeting is in Bulgaria for [2014] qualifying.

Aminata Diallo, France midfielder
It was a physical battle and we were well prepared after the first [group] game. It was difficult but we are a combative team. We wanted this title and we fought until the end. I am really happy to score, especially in the final. I rarely score headers. Now that we are European champions, teams will want to beat us even more.

Sherry McCue, England captain
Our resilience and desire to defend, not just today but all the way through the tournament, has been absolutely great. For the first 45 minutes I don't think we were up to much but the second 45 was much better; we just couldn't sustain it and we conceded. Maybe we switched off because we conceded from a set piece for the first goal. But the girls' desire to keep going and to keep working until the end was just outstanding. None of us have been in this position before. The experiences that we've come up against, all the teams have brought different challenges.

Last updated: 14/10/13 11.45CET

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