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By Pete Sanderson at Deepdale
France made the perfect start to their UEFA European Women's Championship campaign, beating Italy thanks to a breathtaking 15-minute spell in the first half. Hoda Lattaf got the opener when she steered in Sandrine Soubeyrand's sublime pass before Marinette Pichon stole the show with two opportunist strikes. Sara Di Filippo pulled a consolation goal back in the dying moments but the win left Les Bleues on top of Group B. uefa.com rounds up the reaction from Preston.
Elisabeth Loisel, France coach
I am delighted with our performance. It was a great start for us and we have begun exactly as we had hoped to begin our [UEFA WOMEN'S] EURO 2005™ campaign, especially because it will end any future talk about how France are always slow starters. We started slowly but once we scored we looked in control of the game. I was very happy with our midfield and I thought the 4-4-1-1 formation really made us difficult to deal with in the attacking areas. This win will really give us confidence. I think we can now approach our next game with Norway in a positive frame of mind and hopefully we can get another win.
Carolina Morace, Italy coach
We are a little disappointed with tonight's result but we have to put this defeat into perspective. We arrived at this tournament knowing that any kind of positive result would be a bonus. We lost today to a strong team and hopefully we can still get one result against either Norway or Germany. We are very realistic, though, and we know we have our limitations. We do not have the same backing as these other countries in the women's game and it was a miracle we even qualified. I think the result against France could have been very different if [Ilaria] Pasqui had converted an early chance but she didn't and they ran away with the game. I thought we took our goal very well, though.
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