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Shoot-out success leaves Croatia on cloud nine

Published: Tuesday 7 February 2012, 8.05CET
Croatia coach Mato Stanković, goalkeeping hero Ivo Jukić and forward Dario Marinović were proud to "be a part of history" after beating a distraught Ukraine to reach their first semi-final.
by Wayne Harrison, Dmitri Mamykin & Bernard Jurišić
from Spaladium Arena

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Published: Tuesday 7 February 2012, 8.05CET

Shoot-out success leaves Croatia on cloud nine

Croatia coach Mato Stanković, goalkeeping hero Ivo Jukić and forward Dario Marinović were proud to "be a part of history" after beating a distraught Ukraine to reach their first semi-final.

Mato Stanković, Croatia coach
It's hard to explain how I'm feeling right now. The players dreamt that this could happen [reaching the semi-finals] and now I'm so happy because we will last until the end of the tournament − we have two games left and I'm really happy that we will be playing in Zagreb.  Ivo Jukić has done this before, many times. He's in extremely good shape and he did what every captain should do, so I'm so proud of him.

Ivo Jukić has done this before, many times. He's in extremely good shape and he did what every captain should do, so I'm so proud of him
Mato Stanković
We are very proud to play for our country and be a part of Croatian futsal history
Ivo Jukić
We are so proud; we played until our last drop of our energy
Dario Marinović
Unfortunately our stay here has come to an end at the quarter-final stage. For us this is too early, but nothing can be done about it now
Gennadiy Lysenchuk

Is the momentum with Croatia? It's hard to say at the moment, but even if there's just a small chance we must go for it. Split has once again showed itself to be a very good host. Not only Split but also Dalmatia and all of Croatia too. I need to say 'thank you' to everyone who supported the team and helped us get through to the semi-finals.

If I had to choose who I want in the last four I would pick Serbia. If we compare the two teams Russia are better, but because of history it would be more complicated if we lost to Serbia.

Ivo Jukić, Croatia goalkeeper
Many of us aren't professionals and have other jobs, but we work and act like professionals and we give everything we've got during the match. We are very proud to play for our country and be a part of Croatian futsal history. We deserved to win tonight; we deserved some luck after a few close defeats in the last few years. Penalties? If I save the first kick, I usually make a few other stops − I'm that kind of goalkeeper.

Dario Marinović, Croatia forward
This is one for the history books − Croatia have never gone so far in a Futsal EURO. We are so proud; we played until our last drop of our energy. The crowd were amazing. Now we move to Zagreb and I hope even more fans will come to help us in the semi-finals. I would prefer Serbia rather than Russia, but whoever we get we'll give them a hard time.

Gennadiy Lysenchuk, Ukraine coach
First of all I would like to congratulate Croatia on the biggest achievement in their history. This was a great match and I'm sure all the spectators had a lot of fun. This was the first game at this tournament with extra time and a penalty shoot-out, so this alone says how intense this contest was.

Unfortunately our stay here has come to an end at the quarter-final stage. For us this is too early, but nothing can be done about it now. I don't think we deserved to lose, so it's a very painful defeat. We put a huge amount of pressure on the hosts and after scoring the equaliser we created a lot of chances. It's just that we were not able to convert.

Valeriy Legchanov's injury in the second minute of the first half proved very costly for us. Not only did we lose our captain for the majority of the half, but also our first-choice four lost their key player. We need to recover quickly. We are going home now, the players will continue to play in the Ukrainian league, but we have two World Cup play-off matches at the beginning of April. We don't have much time left to prepare.

It's hard to accept the defeat, but there are a lot of positive things we can take from the tournament. We won the mini-tournament in Kharkiv during the qualifying round, scoring the highest number of goals of all. Then we confidently beat Slovenia at the final tournament. OK, we lost to Spain, but we have never beaten them.

Last updated: 05/12/13 19.13CET

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