Spain attacker Daniel Pacheco feels his side are ready to give more after La Roja achieved their objective of reaching the UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-finals with Wednesday's 2-1 triumph over Portugal.
The Liverpool FC prospect opened the scoring against Ilídio Vale's side at the Stade Louis Villemer and struck again two minutes before the end to deny Spain's Iberian rivals a point after Rúben Pinto had equalised late on. "I thought collectively we played a fantastic game," the Malaga-born forward told UEFA.com. "We knew it would be difficult but also that if we stayed true to our values and our idea of how to play things would work out well."
A product of FC Barcelona's youth system, Pacheco made seven appearances for Liverpool last season after debuting during a UEFA Champions League group stage defeat by ACF Fiorentina. Admitting that his future at the Anfield club is unclear, the 19-year-old stated his brace against Portugal helped to lift his spirits. "I really needed those goals as my morale was a bit low because of the uncertainty over my future," he said. "Also, it's a real source of happiness that those goals helped my team reach the last four of this tournament."
Improving steadily since Spain's opening Group B win against Croatia, Pacheco constantly tormented the Portugal defence with penetrating inward runs from both flanks in Saint-Lo. Nonetheless, his manager thinks he can do even better. "We all know the quality Dani has; he's always looking for space to exploit," said coach Luis Milla. "I think he still needs to improve his work when he doesn't have the ball – which he is doing – and if he can perfect that, he'll be a great player."
Although Spain are guaranteed top spot regardless of the outcome of their final Group B encounter with Italy, Pacheco says his colleagues will want to keep the momentum going with a positive result against the Azzurrini on Saturday. "What we want to do is rest well and then concentrate on that last game against Italy. Our two main objectives going into these finals were to progress to the semi-finals and to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup next summer, which we have now achieved."
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