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Swiss hero Müller lauds women's U17 talent

Final tournament ambassador Patrick Müller has promised "positive surprises" for fans who turn up to see the four teams bidding for glory at the women's U17 finals in Nyon this week.

Patrick Müller - capped 81 times for Switzerland - is the women's U17 finals ambassador
Patrick Müller - capped 81 times for Switzerland - is the women's U17 finals ambassador ©AFP

Former defender Patrick Müller – tournament ambassador for the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship finals in Nyon – remembers vividly how it feels to pull on the shirt with the Swiss cross.

"It's a very strong sensation," the 34-year-old told UEFA.com. "It's an honour because it's a selection - you've been chosen to represent your country. The most intense moment is before the start of the match with the national anthems. Shivers come over you, and you say to yourself that you're lucky to play for your country, and you're going to give your all for your country. You feel proud."

Geneva-born Müller made 81 appearances for Switzerland over a ten-year period, scoring three goals, and featured at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany ("The stadiums were virtually red with the Swiss colours," he recalled). He has not forgotten the buzz of international football – a sensation that youngsters from France, Germany, Iceland and Spain will feel at the women's U17 finals at Colovray Stadium, opposite UEFA headquarters, this week.

"It's an honour and a pleasure to be an ambassador for the tournament," said the former Servette FC, Grasshopper-Club and FC Basel 1893 man, who played abroad for Olympique Lyonnais, AS Monaco FC and RCD Mallorca. "Women's football is interesting; it is coming on more and more. In the last two or three months, I have become more involved in women's football and this helped me learn more about women's football from close up."

Now he hopes that plenty of his compatriots will take an interest as the women's U17 finals get under way. "People in western Switzerland like to explore," he said. "This is an opportunity for people to discover women's football. I think there will be positive surprises for those who come to the stadium to see these teams play."

The semi-finals take place on Thursday, with Iceland taking on holders Spain at 14.00CET. Germany play France at the same venue at 18.00CET. Admission to all matches is free – and for those unable to attend, Eurosport 2 will be showing both semi-finals and Sunday's final live, while Eurosport will show the matches at later times.