Switzerland won UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying round Group 12 to be the first team through along with Scotland but coach Yves Débonnaire felt they did not play to their potential.
Victories against mini-tournament hosts Luxembourg and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ensured Switzerland and Scotland booked their place in the elite round in March, before a 0-0 Matchday 3 draw gave Débonnaire's side first place on goal difference. Luxembourg defeated FYROM 3-0 with goals from Romario Lima, Mike Schneider and Vincent Kipulu but only the two third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their pool across 13 groups will progress to the 30 November draw.
"It was a bit complicated but we made it," Débonnaire told UEFA.com. "I am not particularly happy because we did not play as we know we can." His team might have lost to Scotland had Mirko Salvi not saved a 17th-minute penalty from Thomas Reilly.
"We never played well in the last 30 metres," said Débonnaire, whose squad have the task of emulating the 2008/09 selection, who reached the European semi-finals then won the FIFA U-17 World Cup. "We had problems because the whole team played defensively. Now we have six months to prepare ourselves and we will do it. It is important to develop these young players mentally and physically."
His team opened by beating Luxembourg 1-0 with a 17th-minute header from powerful left-back Stefan Marinković though home midfielder Jeff Moos kept his side in the game throughout. They did not break through until the second half against FYROM but benefitted from goalkeeping erros as Thibault Constantin, Endogan Adili and Roland Ndongo secured a 3-1 win. The pace and passing of Salim Kelifi and Adili impressed while Musa Araz ran the Switzerland midfield.
FYROM, who had hopes of going through under young coach Menur Jakupi, had been unfortunate in the opener when Scotland won 1-0 with a last-minute goal from Joseph Chalmers, set up by key man Islam Feruz – who made his U17 debut a year ago aged 14. Scotland did it again in beating Luxembourg 2-1 in added time, John Herron heading in a Lewis McLeod free-kick not long after Chris Philipps had equalised for the hosts.
Scotland manager Ross Mathie said: "It has been a good tournament for us and the fact that we remained unbeaten over the three games was very pleasing as was the great team spirit that has been show since we arrive in Luxembourg."
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