France coach Guy Ferrier hailed his team's attitude after the 3-1 win against Switzerland that took them into Thursday's UEFA European Under-17 Championship semi-finals as Group A runners-up. That left Portugal out after a 2-0 loss to Spain that Rui Bento felt was harsh on his team, while the group winners' coach Ginés Meléndez believes their three victories so far in Liechtenstein confirm his side as real title contenders.
SWITZERLAND 1-3 FRANCE
Heinz Moser, Switzerland coach
It was a bitter defeat for us. For the first 40 minutes we looked like we could have succeeded and we went 1-0 ahead. But we made little mistakes and 1-0 became 1-2 and the game was over. I said to my players at half-time that they needed to keep the lead for as long as possible. We conceded quickly and this was not good for the mentality of my players after losing the first two games. The French team showed how to keep an advantage and score another. Congratulations to France for reaching the semi-finals.
Guy Ferrier, France coach
In the first 30 minutes Switzerland showed big hearts and
I didn't know whether my team could react, but for the second time they have shown they have a very good mentality for their ages. We scored two goals very quickly and then showed that we can keep the ball. In the end, even though we took control after half-time, we could have lost to Switzerland. Only 15 days before the tournament Yaya Sanogo was playing in Ligue 1 so I thought he would be ready straight away. I knew he had the experience, but we saw that he needed two games to be ready. He did not have the passes or the opportunities before but I was sure of his talent.
SPAIN 2-0 PORTUGAL
Ginés Meléndez, Spain coach
It was a very competitive game, Portugal were very good and I congratulate them for the respect they had for the referee and their opponents. It is very important for the young players that they have this respect.
It as a very difficult match and Portugal had the chances to win but overall Spain were better. I don't want to single out a player, the team had a good match, but Gerard is in very good shape and it is important to say he is one year younger than the others. Now we have to let him rest a bit but he is a very promising player. With what we've done so far in the tournament we have a chance of winning the semi-final – and the final.
Rui Bento, Portugal coach
I think we prepared for the match in the right way and the players understood what they had to do. We knew Spain were very mobile and moved the ball about well from the back and we were able to make them change their style, to play long balls from defence. The match was under control until the first goal but in football what counts is who scores.
If 1-0 was already a harsh result, 2-0 was really unfair considering what we did during the match. I congratulate Spain and I wish them and France the best of luck in the semi-finals.
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