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Le Bihan recalls France's 'great adventure'

France lost the 2011 Women's U17 final in added time against Spain, but as she looked back at the event vice-captain Clarisse Le Bihan told UEFA.com that it was a "great adventure".

Clarisse Le Bihan receives the 2010/11 Fair Play trophy on behalf of France
Clarisse Le Bihan receives the 2010/11 Fair Play trophy on behalf of France ©UEFA.com

Clarisse Le Bihan played a crucial role in getting France to July's UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship but suffered frustration in Nyon, Switzerland.

Carrying an injury, she watched their penalty shoot-out defeat of Germany in the last four and the first 79 minutes of the final from the bench before coming on; only for Spain to strike the only goal in added time. There was the consolation of the Fair Play award, which vice-captain Le Bihan received on her team's behalf in November. The EA Guingamp forward looks back at the dramatic tournament with UEFA.com.

UEFA.com: What are your memories of the finals in Nyon?

Clarisse Le Bihan: I experienced it in a slightly different way because I was injured and on the bench. But I was still part of the squad, and it will stay in our minds all our lives. Those were great moments.

UEFA.com: There was that incredible game against Germany with the penalties at the end, it must have been an unforgettable time?

Le Bihan: It's true. Once again I was on the bench and I felt that tension; and to win or lose on penalties, it's really like tossing a coin. It was so tense, and in the end it was such a relief; it was great because we felt like we deserved it.

UEFA.com: The final against Spain, it must have been a big disappointment to lose in the last minute? What was your feeling after the game?

Le Bihan: We felt powerless; it was decided by small details, but we had to stay focused until the last second. That was proved again. We were disappointed, but we recovered fast and said that we needed to take the next step. We had a great adventure, but it shouldn't just end there.

UEFA.com: To win the Fair Play award is a real honour, because respect is important in football...

Le Bihan: Exactly. We're very happy. Fair play is part of the game, and we really appreciate it.

UEFA.com: As a player and as a team, what did you learn from this experience?

Le Bihan: It showed what elite football is. We learned that way. We lost, but we have toughened up, and it will be useful for the future.

UEFA.com: Why are France so strong in women's football at youth and senior level?

Le Bihan: It is developing more and more. There are more and more football academies, girls are being recruited at a younger age, and it is starting to get more media attention, and starting to generate interest in France. It can only get better. There are a lot of people watching and getting interested. It feels great, and the results are getting better. This is simply great.

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