Newcastle United’s Olivier Kemen captained France on Tuesday night as Les Bleuets eliminated England to reach July’s UEFA Under-19 European Championships in Greece.
Both sides went into the game with six points after they had both beaten Denmark and Azerbaijan respectively. France took the lead after 31 minutes when Sehrou Guirassy added to his impressive tournament.
The Laval striker scored twice as they beat Denmark 2-0 in the previous game.
Sean O’Driscoll would have been hoping for a reaction after the break, but his team talk was ruined just five minutes after the restart when Ghaly Cornet doubled France’s advantage.
Fulham’s Patrick Roberts found the net with 10 minutes left, but France, with the home advantage held on to top their group.
Kemen may not have added his name to the score-sheet, but he has led the side by example, playing in all three games and showing why he has made Newcastle’s first-team squad in recent weeks.
Opportunities like this will only help the young midfielder grow and after the tournament in July, he may even be ready to force his way towards a Premier League debut.
"We've won it in 2000, 2005 and 2010, so yes, our objective will be to be up there with the best," said France's coach Patrick Gonfalone to UEFA.com.
"During this week I have seen my players grow on and off of the pitch, they are a great group of friends, and the spirit was excellent. It is so rewarding to be able to work with such talented young players. I am very lucky. Now we will compete to go as far as possible."
France have such a strong youth system, which includes Manchester City’s Olivier Ntcham and Moussa Dembele of Fulham, so Kemen’s side will be one of the favourites to go and lift the Under-19 trophy this summer.