Kemen commends France's footballing 'family'

After a late semi-final loss, France captain Olivier Kemen focused on the positives, praising the squad's football and family atmosphere while regretting what might have been.

France captain Olivier Kemen (right) is consoled by Spain counterpart Jesús Vallejo
France captain Olivier Kemen (right) is consoled by Spain counterpart Jesús Vallejo ©Sportsfile

France were able to leave the UEFA European Under-19 Championship with their heads held high having produced some absorbing football in Greece, but in just a few moments their hopes of claiming a third title were snatched away.

Those few minutes came at a crucial moment as they conceded two last-ditch goals to see their Greek adventure ended in the most painful manner by Spain. Not too long afterwards, captain Olivier Kemen found the strength of character to speak to UEFA.com.

UEFA.com: Olivier, given the quality of these two sides, it could almost have been the final. You must be very disappointed not to get the chance to play in that, given how well you have played during this tournament.

Olivier Kemen: To start with we are very disappointed of course, but life is like this – some you win, some you lose. We lost tonight but we still played good football. We did everything we had to do right up to the final five minutes. Then we conceded two goals and it is Spain who go to the final.

UEFA.com: What could you have done differently to win tonight?

Kemen: Tonight all we had to do was be more focused in the final five minutes – that's the only thing we needed to do better. It was just those final five minutes, when we let them have the ball and we fell into the trap. We'll definitely learn from this and I'm sure we're going to grow in years to come.

UEFA.com: How long do you think it will take for this defeat to sink in?

Kemen: It's certainly going to take a few days for us to recover from this, of course it will – it's hard to lose like this – but what can you do about it now? It's tough.

UEFA.com: Once it has sunk in, what positives will you be able to take out of the tournament?

Kemen: From this tournament we can take the fact that we reached the semi-finals and that we played good football and that we have a team which is like a family. These are the only things I'm thinking about.

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