Germany coach Steffen Freund hailed his team's defiance in coming back from the brink of elimination on Matchday 2 to qualify for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship semi-finals with a 1-0 win against Romania. They join the Netherlands in progressing from Group B, with Albert Stuivenberg ruing a host of missed chances in the goalless draw against the Czech Republic.
ROMANIA 0-1 GERMANY
Steffen Freund, Germany coach
We played better football against the Czech Republic but it's about the opponents, and we knew Romania would stay deep and look only to exploit mistakes by my team.
We had to be clever as only four players from Romania go forward. That's why it was easy to keep the clean sheet. Our philosophy in Germany is to go forward and try to score goals; that's why we won today. The team that goes forward and tries to score will win, and deserves to.
Levent Aycicek picked up an injury [against the Czech Republic] and we tried our best to bring him back. This morning he said 'yes, bring me in', but in the warm-up the pain came back. Against a strong defensive team you have to be strong, too. When you are injured and have pain it is very difficult, so we changed it at the last minute. Maybe that is the spirit of Germany: we always come back.
Adrian Văsâi, Romania coach
We tried to prepare for this match as well as we could. Unfortunately for us we knew we were up against a very strong Germany team, and so it proved.
After conceding the goal everything fell apart. As usually happens, the team that scores first can control the game. If we had a better result today we could have earned qualification, but it was not to be.
NETHERLANDS 0-0 CZECH REPUBLIC
Albert Stuivenberg, Netherlands coach
Of course we had already qualified, but we still had to focus on also winning this game, especially because we played with some different players. This was not only to give some rest to some players normally in the first XI, but also to give the reserves the chance to play they deserve.
We created eight or nine chances to score, but we missed them all. Of course the Czech goalkeeper did a good job, but I think we also made it very easy for him to keep us out.
I'm a little disappointed but also happy that we did not concede any goals again. Everybody did a good job.
Josef Csaplár, Czech Republic coach
I'm not happy with this performance – I expected better play. I expected more intensity. We had a lucky day because our goalkeeper was the best player on the pitch. I was disappointed with the performance of some players. It's disappointing but for me it is a challenge for the future. Three games, three points – our team showed character and the right mentality.
We have to appreciate the quality of the Netherlands players and the Germany players. They are [at] the next level. This tournament was a success for us – we have advanced to Mexico [for the FIFA U-17 World Cup]. It is a lot of work to train, develop and educate the players to the next level of skill.
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