FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

5 August - 24 August

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014

Lavogez: It's been a wonderful adventure

France's Clair Lavgoez, one of the stars of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, relaxes with in Canada.
© Getty Images

The tears have dried and the smile has returned. Claire Lavogez knows and has come to terms with the fact that she will not return home as a world champion. Nor, however, will this classy creative midfielder touch down in France with the same low profile and modest reputation with which she departed.

For just as Lavogez has illuminated Canada 2014 with her flair, vision and explosive shooting, so the tournament has put this rising star firmly in the spotlight. She has, indeed, become something of an internet sensation, with her glorious goal against Costa Rica having gone viral; viewed, admired and lauded by millions across the world.

"The reaction online was amazing," she reflected. "I never expected anything like it. I actually didn't even realise when I scored it that the goal had been quite so impressive. But afterwards everyone was talking about it and when I started to see the attention it was getting, I watched it online. That was a nice surprise because it was definitely better than I expected."

The stunning strike was an early indication of Lavogez's capabilities, and she has since proved to be anything but a one-goal wonder. Indeed, while the France No10 won't need to make room for a gold medal thanks to her team's semi-final defeat to Germany, she might still need to invest in some bulky new luggage. After all, three of Lavogez's four appearances at Canada 2014 have ended with her clutching a framed Live Your Goals player of the match award, with the 20-year-old having consistently wowed FIFA's Technical Study Group. The only question now is what will she do with them all.

It has been a great tournament for me. Before coming here, I didn't expect it to score so many goals or be so important to the team.

"I'll give one to my parents for sure," she said. "They've been so important to me and I know they'll be very proud. And I think I'll hang one in my apartment. But the other one... I really have no idea.

"Those awards have been nice and the other girls in the team have given me lots of congratulations about them. It has been a great tournament for me. Before coming here, I didn't expect it to score so many goals or be so important to the team. But the coach asked me to take on a big role and said he believed in me, so I just tried to show what I could do.

"Since then, it has just been a wonderful adventure. Even just to be away with the team, meeting new people, has been amazing. But there have been lots of great moments on the field too that I'll always remember, like qualifying from the quarter-finals [when Lavogez scored the winning penalty against Korea Republic). There have been so many emotions and almost all of them have been good."

The obvious exception, of course, was that last-four loss to Germany in a match France completely dominated. Lavogez, though, is philosophical about the outcome and quick to acknowledge that, in failing to convert several excellent chances, *Les Bleuettes *only had themselves to blame.

"We were the stronger team," she said. "But you always lose for a reason and for us the reason for us was clear. Dominating is not the same as winning and we didn't do well enough in front of goal. The disappointment is still there but we know we played well and we're really motivated for this third-place match against Korea DPR now. We want to make sure we go back to France with a medal."

Few would begrudge Lavogez that final memento, and those who have enjoyed her inventive, intelligent performances are sure to follow her progress as she bids to return to Canada next year. "I would love to come back for the Women's World Cup and people have been mentioning that since I've done well here. But I've never played for the senior team before, so I don't have any big expectations."

That may well be true, but those same words could just as easily have been uttered before Canada 2014. As Lavogez has since proved, expectations are there to be exceeded.

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