Switzerland begin the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals next Tuesday with a certain status to live up to after last season's squad – having reached the continental semis – travelled to Nigeria and won the FIFA U-17 World Cup. In this season's elite round Heinz Moser's side eliminated holders Germany, and as the 2002 European champions consider a group containing fellow former winners Portugal, Spain and France, the coach is setting the highest of goals.
UEFA.com: In the elite round your side beat Germany 1-0 and Hungary 3-1 after a 2-1 defeat by Serbia. How pleased were you with their performances?
Heinz Moser: They were great. I'm very pleased because I think we had the strongest team and deserved to qualify.
UEFA.com: What stood out for you during the qualification campaign?
Moser: Various things. One good example would be the match against Hungary, where we had to endure some difficult phases against a team that were supposedly the underdogs. We were 3-0 up but seemed almost afraid of winning. We needed a couple of good saves from our goalkeeper, but the most important thing was that the team kept fighting. Hauling yourself through difficult times is commendable for any team.
UEFA.com: What can you tell us about your preparations for the tournament?
Moser: We began our preparations immediately after the final qualification match on 30 March. It's important to stay focused. We'll have a chance to test the players against third division side FC Solothurn when we spend a one-week training camp there.
UEFA.com: Have there been any problems?
Moser: It is a shame that many of the players from foreign clubs won't be able to join us for the camp because they're still involved with their respective clubs.
UEFA.com: What are your goals for the tournament?
We want to be European champions, of course. That's the goal of the entire team.
UEFA.com: Does the fact that the last Swiss U17 team became world champions spur you on even more?
Moser: Of course it was important for Switzerland's confidence, it showed what we are capable of. That obviously has an effect on the current team. Still we can't afford to be complacent just because Switzerland were successful last year. It's up to the training staff to make sure that doesn't happen.
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