Soubeyrand tips final to be memorable


LOOKING on from the stands as France edged past Japan on Tuesday and into the final of the Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup was Sandrine Soubeyrand, pictured.
Having flown into Port Moresby from Paris in the morning, the former France midfielder shrugged off jetlag on a day to remember for the French women’s football.
Her country’s most capped player with 198 appearances and a member of the side that reached the semifinals of the 2011 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Germany, Soubeyrand retired in 2014 and is following Les Bleuettes’ exploits closely in her capacity as the coordinator of France’s youth teams and the coach of the national U17 women’s side.
In joining up with the jubilant France players after their semifinal win, Soubeyrand said although she had never had the honour to play in a junior representative world tournament, she was excited for France’s U20 women making a name for themselves back in France.
“I never played in youth competitions, but with my job now I can follow all of them,” Soubeyrand said.
“My first one was the U20 World Cup in 2014.
“The team went out in the semifinals and finished third on that occasion, but they’ve done better here and I’m delighted for them.
“It’s true that there wasn’t any of this when I was playing, but times change.
“It’s great that they get to enjoy an experience like this.
“It’s going to help the France players grow and develop and they’ll have some unforgettable memories,” she said.
The 43-year-old said she expected a fantastic, highly competitive final between two sides who had earned their right to be in the decider.
“Obviously, I’ve been keeping a close eye on France, but I’ve seen lots of great things, especially from North Korea and Japan, who are both very interesting and very well-drilled teams,” she said.
“As for Les Bleuettes, they had a tough start, but if they’d been 100 per cent at the beginning of the competition, then they maybe wouldn’t have had enough left to finish the job off.
“They’ve got better as the tournament’s gone on, but, as I said to Gilles (Eyquem, the coach), you have to overcome adversity if you want to achieve things. Their run to the final has shown that.”
On the threat North Korea posed to her France, she said they would be similar to Japan.
“They’re a bit like Japan,” Soubeyrand said.
“They run hard and play a nice passing game, but don’t tend to dribble so much.
“I think we can beat them.
“Some of the players played in and won a final at Azerbaijan in 2012, but this will be an unforgettable occasion for the team as a whole.” –

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