Interview: Frappart: I’m proud to represent France in the final

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While the host nation will not be taking part in the upcoming final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018, there will be one French representative present on the pitch on Friday: Stephanie Frappart, who has been selected to referee the tournament’s showpiece match between Japan and Spain in Vannes.

Stephanie Frappart, 34, shared her feelings of pride and joy with FIFA.com.

FIFA.com: Stephanie, how did it feel to be picked to referee the U-20 Women’s World Cup final?
Stephanie Frappart: It’s a great honour to be selected for the match and I’m very proud to represent France. You never expect it, because there’s an entire group of referees that you work with, and all of them are in with a shout. Secondly, my chances depended on how France got on in the tournament, as I’m obviously not allowed to referee my own country. Just like all my colleagues, I try to do my work as well as I can, hoping that I’ll one day be able to referee a final. And when that day actually comes, it’s a really great feeling, and it’s even more special that the match will take place in France.

Do you prepare for a final in the same way as any other match?
You obviously know that there’ll be more of a spotlight on the game, and you’ll feel a bit of pressure due to the high stakes involved. But it’s still a football match, and it’s part of a competition that I’ve spent a long time preparing for. You don’t leave anything to chance – you constantly work on technical and tactical aspects so that you’re ready for this type of encounter.

Have you enjoyed refereeing during this U-20 Women’s World Cup?
Yes, because it was the first time I’d officiated at this event, although I had already taken part in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. It’s been particularly memorable for me because of it being held in France. It’s been a great experience; the standard of play has been very high.

Is refereeing a U-20 match different from refereeing a senior game?
The only distinguishing factor is speed. In terms of skills and tactics, however, the U-20s have made a huge amount of progress. The game is slower, sure, but it’s not easier. At the end of the day, they’re football matches in which you deal with the same issues.

Are some teams easier or tougher to referee?
No. Each team has a style of play, their own tactics, and players with different attributes – that’s what makes a World Cup like this one so great. You prepare for that; that’s what you expect. Prior to the semi-finals, two coaches came to us to explain how the teams were set up and how they played. The goal of this was to enable us to adapt to them better and to be in the right place at the right time, so that we can make the best possible decision when we referee a match involving such-and-such a team.

Does refereeing a U-20 Women’s World Cup final assure you of a spot on the list of officials for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™?
No, not at all – that list has not been set yet. After this competition, there’s the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay, which will feature other potential candidates. We’re all on the list of possible referees, but the objective is to remain there, or to try to remain there. In order to do that, you have to keep working hard on the technical side of the game, as well as on tactics and fitness. And so I’m going to knuckle down and do just that!

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