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Women's Football News
Jarmo Matikainen praised his Wales team following their 4-1 defeat to France in their UEFA Women's Championships qualifying group match in Llanelli.
Wales gave the World Cup semi finalists a fright by taking an early lead, which they held until just before half time, and Jarmo said: "I am proud of my players and the way they played.
"I watched France in the World Cup and, aside from Japan, they played the best football and it was a good chance for my players to test where they are right now.
"I am pleased with the performance - disappointed with the result but one of the most pleasing things is that we could have got something out of the game. We are working at all levels to make sure we are physically, tactically and mentally able to compete and we believe we can do it.
"After the disappointment of conceding [the equaliser] I said at half time that we had a big fifteen minutes and not to concede during that time. Then they got the penalty - a soft one in my opinion - but Nicky [Davies] made a great save. For the next fifteen minutes we looked quite solid but then we let in three, a lot of it was down to fatigue but we did make substitutions which should have kept up our strength in the last fifteen minutes.
"But it doesn't take away the progress and the improvement the girls are showing and I am very pleased with that."
France coach Bruno Biri was generous in victory and had words of encouragement for the Welsh side. "In football you have two choices, all to defend or to play, and Wales played," he said. "I've known Jarmo for a long time and all his teams try to play.
"I saw Wales play Ireland and it was a pity for them as they played a strong game but made two big mistakes. I said to the girls, 'be careful, they are a good team' so I wasn't surprised by them."
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