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Crammer undaunted by spot kicks
Needing to raise her voice to compete with the chorus of joy emanating from her team-mates next door, Pauline Crammer revealed her eagerness to take the decisive penalty that sent France through to the 2010 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship final at Germany's expense.
With the scores tied at 1-1 after extra time in Kumanovo, it took spot kicks to decide who would go on to join holders England in Saturday's showpiece at the National Arena in Skopje. Germany captain Valeria Kleiner missed hers, but all five France players found the net, with Crammer burying the crucial fifth to propel Les Bleuettes into the final for the first time since 2006.
""It wasn't easy because on top of everything else I had cramp as I stepped up, but I took it the way I wanted to, I didn't ask myself any questions and it went in"," said the FCF Hénin-Beaumont striker. "I take penalties for my club and I like taking them, so when the coach was looking for volunteers I said yes. I wanted to take the last one because I didn't want to take the first. I wanted to let a few kicks go by."
Crammer was one of six players in France's first XI who started their group game against Germany last year. As in Belarus, Solène Barbance opened the scoring for Jean-Michel Degrange's charges at the Milano Arena, and as in Belarus their opponents levelled the scores – but while Germany went on to triumph in 2009, this time France held firm.
"We didn't think about last year at 1-1," said Crammer. "We said to ourselves that we could still go on and win it. We were just focused on our match; last year was last year. This was a whole new game and now we're really happy to have beaten Germany and reached the final."
The 19-year-old put the success down to defensive discipline and an all-round team effort. "It was a very hard game and it's always tough to play against Germany because they constantly produce physical teams, but we were able to resist them and we kept our unity," she explained.
"We were able to make our presence felt and we played well together, with a lot of solidarity. Whenever we lost the ball, we were very strong at the back. We did everything to get this victory – all of us from the players to the staff."
Having beaten the three-time winners, Crammer now wants nothing less than the trophy. "We're all very happy and now we've got through we have to win it to make sure we didn't do all that for nothing," she said. "England will be another very, very difficult game. We've seen them a bit: the coach showed us the video of their game against Germany. I think they're a little less strong than Germany, but we'll see for ourselves."
Date: 2010-06-03 12:42:13