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Defeat takes nothing away from Montenegro feat

Published: Wednesday 12 October 2011, 12.25CET
Montenegro ended Group G with a 2-0 defeat by Switzerland but Europe's youngest football nation nevertheless rejoiced in the "enormous achievement" of reaching the play-offs.
by Andy James
from St. Jakob-Park
Defeat takes nothing away from Montenegro feat
Montenegro celebrate the goal against England that earned them a play-off berth ©Getty Images

Match statistics

SwitzerlandMontenegro

Goals scored2
 
0
Possession (%)0
100
Total attempts27
 
6
Attempts on target12
 
1
Attempts off target13
 
5
Attempts blocked0
 
0
Attempts against woodwork0
 
0
Corners9
 
3
Offsides4
 
2
Yellow cards2
 
3
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed13
 
14
Fouls suffered11
 
10

Standings

Last updated: 13/02/2013 10:53 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 12 October 2011, 12.25CET

Defeat takes nothing away from Montenegro feat

Montenegro ended Group G with a 2-0 defeat by Switzerland but Europe's youngest football nation nevertheless rejoiced in the "enormous achievement" of reaching the play-offs.

Not even a 2-0 defeat in their final Group G match away to Switzerland was enough to dampen the mood among the Montenegro squad ahead of Thursday's UEFA EURO 2012 play-off draw in Krakow.

We only have a population of 650,000, so it's an enormous achievement for our country
Stefan Savić
It was important for us to finish off with a win because we're heading into what will be a long year without any competitive matches
Johan Djourou

Montenegro were already assured of second spot in the section following Friday's 2-2 draw against winners England – an historic achievement for Europe's youngest football nation, who only made their international bow in 2007. Though Tuesday's trip to Basel brought Branko Brnović's charges back down to earth, it was not enough to take away from the country's achievement according to defender Stefan Savić.

"It means a lot to the people back home," said the Manchester City FC defender. "We've only had five years together as a nation and as a team, so we're very happy. We only have a population of 650,000, so it's an enormous achievement for our country."

With thoughts turning two the two-legged tie on 11/12 and 15 November, Brnović rotated his side against Switzerland in order to avoid the threat of suspension. Though their group campaign subsequently ended in defeat, the hard work had been done against Fabio Capello's men. "We are disappointed about this loss but to be honest we were completely drained from our last match against England," said Savić.

Placed in Pot 2 for Thursday's draw, Montenegro will now come up against one of the four seeded teams – Croatia, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland or the Czech Republic.

"I think we have the quality to make it to EURO 2012," said Savić. "We have plenty of time to prepare for those two matches so I think we have a good chance. Let's not forget that we came second in a very hard group. Whoever we come up against, it's not going to be easy for them."

For Switzerland, meanwhile, victory marked little more than a morale-boosting end to qualifying. Defeat by Wales on Friday night, coupled with Montenegro's late comeback for a point, had ended their hopes of a top-two finish and, according to centre-back Johan Djourou, they needed to finish on a high.

"We knew we wanted to respond, especially considering all the people who showed up today," said the Arsenal FC defender. "It was important for us to finish off with a win because we're heading into what will be a long year without any competitive matches."

Last updated: 25/10/11 10.22CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1695696.html#montenegro+mood+unchanged

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