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Paco relieved at Spain start

Published: Thursday 20 May 2010, 9.00CET
Captain Paco was thrilled to strike the winner in Spain's 2-1 Group A win against France but ahead of Friday's game against Switzerland knows another tough fixture is in prospect.
by Tom Kell
from Vaduz
Paco relieved at Spain start
Paco (left) tackles France's Paul Pogba ©UEFA.com
Published: Thursday 20 May 2010, 9.00CET

Paco relieved at Spain start

Captain Paco was thrilled to strike the winner in Spain's 2-1 Group A win against France but ahead of Friday's game against Switzerland knows another tough fixture is in prospect.

Twice the showpiece match in a UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals, Spain against France was an eye-catching opening fixture in the 2010 edition. Spain captain Paco struck a late winner for his side and is confident they can now go from strength to strength after emerging unscathed from a tricky encounter.

This is the European Championship and it is my first major tournament so to score the winning goal against a team like France is amazing
Paco

Spain have been widely touted as tournament favourites in Liechtenstein but, drawn in a section composed solely of former winners, their task is far from straightforward. France presented a tough first hurdle and, despite being pegged back to 1-1 with only 15 minutes remaining, Ginés Meléndez's side opened their account with maximum points thanks to a late goal from captain Paco.

"It feels great," the 16-year-old told UEFA.com. "This is the European Championship and it is my first major tournament so to score the winning goal against a team like France is amazing. We feel good after that because France got level quite late on so to still go and win it is a good sign. Of course we now think we can win [the tournament], we wouldn't be here if we didn't."

There is no let up, however. The next obstacle the 2007 and 2008 winners must overcome is Switzerland, who succumbed 3-0 against Portugal on Matchday 1 having been struck by a bout of injury and suspension. However, last season's Switzerland squad won the FIFA U-17 World Cup and Paco knows that both sides will still have plenty to say on how the group pans out.

"They are both very good," he said. "We did not play against France how we would normally play; the team spent lots of time defending and had to play lots of diagonal passes from defence. It was very hard against France because they kept the ball very well so it was difficult for us to play our game. It worked, though."

Last updated: 28/01/12 8.00CET

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