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Abily: Hard work paying off for France

France have never got past the last eight but are considered among the favourites for the finals and Camille Abily says they are now matching hard work with technical ability.

Abily: Hard work paying off for France
Abily: Hard work paying off for France ©

France have never made it beyond the last eight of the UEFA European Women's Championship but after two global semi-finals in as many years, Les Bleues are tipped to shine when UEFA Women's EURO 2013 begins in Sweden next week.

Fourth at both the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2012 Olympics, France start Group C against Russia in Norrkoping next Friday before taking on Spain and England. Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Camille Abily, capped more than 100 times and key to French success in recent seasons, puts their improvement down to a mixture of technical ability and hard work.

"I think that in France we have this philosophy, even in men's football: we like technical teams, we love to have the ball," Abily told "With the girls, whether it's with Lyon or France, we love to have the ball, we are football players. Even though we have to run, that's not what we prefer, running after the ball.

"But we were inspired a lot by the boys and we are working harder," the 28-year-old continued. "We are training five to six times a week, compared with two or three times before. That is the difference, we are improving. I think this really makes the difference."

To hear more from Camille Abily click on the video player above – or read an in-depth interview with the midfielder from earlier this year.