Having led the Netherlands into their third UEFA European Under-17 Championship final with a 1-0 defeat of holders England in Novi Sad, Albert Stuivenberg said his side could have won by more, but believes having to hang on to the end will also benefit his players. While the Netherlands return here on Sunday, John Peacock's England next travel to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico and the manager praised his players for their efforts throughout the season while saluting the Netherlands, who meet Germany on Sunday.
Albert Stuivenberg, Netherlands coach
I do believe we were the better team today, we should have finished off the game earlier, we had chances to make it 2-0, but then it was still intense until the end so hopefully the spectators saw a nice game. Defensively we do a very good job but we create a lot of chances every match. We don't defend in depth, we have our own philosophy. We still make mistakes, they are young players, but
I must compliment them on the way they work together on the pitch, that's the quality of the team.
We had the first chances, after that we scored a good goal, but we had good chances to finish it off. The final pass was not too good in that game and that's why we had go to the final second and it took the last strength of the players. But it is also great to achieve a result like this, to give everything, and we can take a lot of confidence – the players understand that if you give everything you can get a result.
John Peacock. England manager
I thought we played as well as we can play, nothing against the Dutch, it was always going to be a very close encounter today. When it gets to the semi-final of European competitions the first goal becomes quite crucial. While not playing very well first half we thought in the second half if we set about it a bit better and had a bit more quality in our passing, then we might get that chance. But it wasn't to be, credit to the Dutch, they've been very close for many years now and it may be their year.
[The Netherlands] are a very difficult team to beat, that's six games they haven't conceded a goal, they showed today that they were very resolute in defence, very well organised. When they get the ball they try to attack you on the flanks and some of the combination play in the last third, that was our undoing for the first goal unfortunately.
Generally we've come through some tough qualification groups, they acquitted themselves very well in this tournament.
We've been a bit up and down but to finish top four in Europe is a great achievement. One of the biggest experiences these lads can get in a lifetime is coming in the next few weeks [at the World Cup]. For their football education it will be a massive learning curve to play against South American teams and teams from around the world. It's something you don't get too often.
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