England manager John Peacock mused on the "ups and downs of youth football" after the UEFA European Under-17 Championship holders beat hosts Serbia 3-0 in Indjija to reach the semi-finals from Group A. They only did so as France lost 1-0 in Novi Sad to Denmark, previously confirmed in first place, and although Les Mini-Bleus have the consolation of a FIFA U-17 World Cup berth, coach Patrick Gonfalone knows he has plenty of flaws to cure.
ENGLAND 3-0 SERBIA
John Peacock, England manager
I'm absolutely delighted that we've qualified for the semi-finals. We've had the ups and downs of youth football in the last three days with us not performing very well against Denmark and today we've performed particularly well against a good Serbia team. We started very well and that's something we didn't do against Denmark, so I am delighted with the players' performance.
I've not thought anything about Holland. Our job was very plain today: to win the game and hopefully the rest would just take care of itself. I know that Holland qualified extremely well and haven't conceded a goal yet. We'll start to look at that over the next few days and I'm delighted we are starting to look at that as that means we're still here. Nick [Powell] has damaged his knee. We think it isn't as bad as we first thought, thankfully, but I can't say any more than that.
Milovan Djorić, Serbia coach
Serbia conceded some very quick goals. The first one came from nowhere, the second one was great and then for the last one our defender missed the ball. I saw that our players had lost their minds a bit, they were panicking, and for a few minutes they really didn't know what to do. But after that, and especially in the second half, we got on our game and tried to do something. We had a chance to score a goal but we missed a few chances.
Perhaps we could have done more if we had scored in the second half but that was that. There's nothing more we can do and I congratulate England on their victory.
As I said before the finals, in my opinion England have a really good chance to win the tournament again.
DENMARK 1-0 FRANCE
Thomas Frank, Denmark coach
It's always important to win. Of course we didn't need to win for the semi-final or the World Cup, but it's always important to win. Now we have played nine matches [including qualifying] and have had one draw and eight victories. It was important to continue that.
Normally only the big nations like France and England can get such a good result having made seven changes. So we must be one of the big nations now. I know [Serbia coach] Milovan Djorić said the weakest team was on top of the group but I think that could not be more wrong. [But] we were lucky. France had six, seven or eight chances and we had four or five. The France No10 [Abdallah Yaisien] is a fantastic player but he just couldn't score today.
Patrick Gonfalone, France coach
We have good players but not a good team. When we play like that we can't win – it's not possible. All the players play for themselves. Denmark have good players and a good team. Today was a demonstration that football is a team game. Congratulations to Denmark because they are the best team. I think they have really, really good players and have a real chance to win. This team has all the qualities to make it all the way to the final.
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