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Coaches happy as Greece and Croatia advance

Published: Saturday 2 October 2010, 19.16CET
Greece coach Theodoros Pachatouridis and Croatia's Ivan Gudelj praised their teams after a 0-0 draw ensured both moved through from qualifying round Group 1 ahead of Israel.
by Elvir Islamović
from Kostrena
Coaches happy as Greece and Croatia advance
Croatia and Greece line up before their decisive fixture ©Dževad Kudin/HNS
Published: Saturday 2 October 2010, 19.16CET

Coaches happy as Greece and Croatia advance

Greece coach Theodoros Pachatouridis and Croatia's Ivan Gudelj praised their teams after a 0-0 draw ensured both moved through from qualifying round Group 1 ahead of Israel.

Greece and hosts Croatia came through from UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying round Group 1 after a goalless draw on the final day.

Prior to kick-off Greece had secured their elite round berth but Croatia still needed a point to ensure Israel could not catch them. The draw was enough for Croatia though Israel, who beat Bulgaria 1-0, could yet go through as one of the two third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their section.

A 1-0 victory against Bulgaria and 4-1 defeat of Israel, with some excellent goals including two by Charalampos Mavrias, ensured Greece could allow themselves the freedom to sit back against Croatia, who had the better of the play. Croatia led Israel 2-0 in their opener with 12 minutes left, only for Roi Atar and Omri Altman to hit back for a draw but two Dino Špehar goals against Bulgaria gave the home nation a 2-1 win that made sure a draw against Greece would secure second place.

Croatia coach Ivan Gudelj said: "We were better than all our opponents in this tournament, but each team played very defensively against us, especially Greece in the last match. So, we were having to work hard to score. But we managed to go through and that's a success. We have enough time to prepare for the elite round and we will be 40 to 50% better for that round."

His opposite number for Greece, Theodoros Pachatouridis, said: "Croatia moved the ball better and they were more dangerous, so we decided to play more defensively. But we were still dangerous from counterattacks. I have to be satisfied with the result, we were the best team here. We came here to the next round and we did it. Now we will try to win a spot in the final tournament."

Last updated: 03/10/10 14.23CET

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