Italy's Daniele Zoratto admitted he thought his side were out of the game when a goal down with five minutes remaining, but hailed the spirit of his young charges who scored in the 75th and again deep in added time to knock out Ukraine and ensure a top-three finish in Group B and with it a place at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
Opposite number Olexandr Holovko was understandably dejected, but praised his side and is confident the experience, which will last no longer than the group stage, is one which will improve his players. A draw for Russia against Croatia, meanwhile, means they remain top of the section, and Dmitri Khomukha is pleased his side hold that advantage going into the final group game with Italy.
RUSSIA 0-0 CROATIA
Dmitri Khomukha, Russia coach
It was a really tough match, and very hard for our guys from a physical point of view. Croatia are a well-organised team, they have some strong individuals. I believe it is a fair outcome. We created chances, but so did our opponent. It is a pity that we could not convert them. We are now in a better position than our opponents, so this is not the worst possible result for us. It is a shame we could not score, but at this level the lads are still quite young and not fully developed physically. When the players are very tired, some technical elements aren't done as well as they should be.
Ivan Gudelj, Croatia coach
We had a very attacking start to the match. It was a match where we had more, and better chances, especially in the second half. We were dominant for the most part, but we did not find the good final ball, even if we had some good chances. Our defence played excellently, all four defenders, plus the goalkeeper and the two defensive midfielders. We were not so good in attack.
We were not calm enough in our finishing. Also in some situations, some of my players were selfish. But it is not that bad, there is a third match ahead of us. Our goals are still clear and remain the same. We did not lose, we did not concede a goal but we also did not score. So, we need better finishing. Simply, we are going to play for the win in the last match and that is the fact.
UKRAINE 1-2 ITALY
Olexandr Holovko, Ukraine coach
Perhaps the emotions are still too fresh for me to be objective. In Ukraine, we have all the conditions to be successful at youth level, the lads study at youth academies for ten years. But I suppose these two matches and the third one - they are equal to those ten years. We do not have anything like this experience.
This is a school for them, and I am really happy that we got here and we will keep battling for a place at the World Cup. We will not let our heads drop, for sure. But defeats teach them lessons, while you cannot learn as much after a victory. I believe this lesson will be helpful. I want to thank my boys. They looked worthy today. We could have won, but that is football.
Daniele Zoratto, Italy coach
To be honest, I did not believe we could do it. I was already thinking ahead to the Russia game. I knew, and I know, that this is a side which fights to the very end, but at the same time, I saw a degree of tiredness and that Ukraine had the edge in terms of morale. The goal then gave us a real boost to go on and get the win. Our first goal unblocked us psychologically.
It gave us the mental strength to push even more and look for the victory, which we got right at the end. I have got to say that my team passed a good test of character in a moment when we were suffering psychologically and physically. So I think it is fair enough for these lads to celebrate the way they did. They have reached the FIFA World Cup so it is a great achievement for them.
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