Never the happiest of goalkeepers whenever she concedes a goal, France keeper Mylene Chavas is a born winner. Though pleased to collect the adidas Golden Glove as the outstanding goalkeeper of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016, Chavas could not conceal her disappointment at having conceded three goals in her side’s final defeat to Korea DPR.

“Mylene shouldn’t be too hard on herself because of this defeat,” France’s goalkeeping coach Sandrine Roux told FIFA.com as she made her way to the Bleuettes’ team bus. “She’s such a perfectionist. That’s good, but you also need to take a step back and have a good think about things,” added the former France captain, who won 71 full international caps between 1983 and 2000.  

“I know she wasn’t happy with herself tonight,” continued Roux. “It’s hard to find the words on a night like tonight, but I told her that her work had been rewarded with the Golden Glove. Even though it’s an individual award, it shows that she has the talent and that lots of opportunities can open up for her. She’s not even 19 yet.”

If you are good enough, you are old enough, in the opinion of Roux, who listed the attributes that made her protégé the most outstanding goalkeeper of the tournament, with Chavas catching the eye with her penalty save against Ghana and string of superb stops against Germany and Japan: “She’s very calm, she’s a commanding presence in the box, she’s tall, she’s got the stature and she can use her feet. 

"Technically, she’s come on leaps and bounds. She’s calm and she analyses situations well. She was pretty introverted to begin with, but we started to see a different Mylene after the European Championship win. She talks a lot more in the box. She’s a real leader and she makes her presence felt. When she speaks, she makes herself heard.”

Looking to the future
“She is the keeper of the future as far as we’re concerned,” added Roux, who also praised her understudies Cindy Perrault and Jade Lebastard for their “faultless” attitude, despite the fact they did not enjoy any game time at all at Papua New Guinea 2016. 

Chavas then appeared in the mixed zone, carrying the heavy case containing her individual award. “All said and done, we came second. Being the second-best team in the world is not bad,” commented the Saint-Etienne keeper, attempting to look on the bright side as she contemplated the silver medal hanging around her neck. “That’s what we’ll take from this and that’s what we’ll focus on. Even though we lost tonight, we had a good tournament.”

A first-choice with her club in the French first division, Chavas chose to look further ahead than the end of the pavement, where the last of the dejected Tricolores trudged out of the stadium, a look of sadness in their eyes. “I’m going to go and get my place back and battle away in the league. That’s what I need to concentrate on. I was one of the youngest players here. We had a fantastic run and I’m going away having learned so many things. I’ve seen for myself that it was a great international competition, a World Cup.”