Romania will get their first taste of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship when they host this summer's event, and coach Lucian Burchel is determined to put on a spectacle for the home supporters. The former international has worked with the Romanian Football Federation's (FRF) youth teams since 2007 and is relishing this rare opportunity.
UEFA.com: You face the Czech Republic, Greece and the Republic of Ireland in Group A: is that a good draw?
Lucian Burchel: At this level all the teams are very good; you can't say you would prefer to play against one or the other. When France, Italy, England and Germany have all been knocked out, you can't say that the teams who qualified are less gifted or less strong.
UEFA.com: Your first match is against the Czech Republic; what do you know about them?
Burchel: I haven't seen them in person but I have plenty of information; they're a strong team, well organised in defence and attack and they show plenty of determination, they know how to fight. We have to impose our own game on them.
UEFA.com: Is the first game the most important?
Burchel: It's as important as all the others, not more so. Obviously we've not had any competitive football this season so we could lack a certain match sharpness compared to the teams who've come through qualifying and we'll have to prepare carefully. We have to play every game with a good level of concentration and determination and then I think we'll be able to achieve a lot.
UEFA.com: Greece are your second opponents…
Burchel: It's a bit of a surprise they're here but when you beat France 2-1 to knock them out you're obviously a good team. They're very well organised at the back and strong at set pieces, but we have to study them and find where they're less good – and then try to exploit that.
UEFA.com: And then your group campaign concludes against Ireland; what do you expect there?
Burchel: British and Irish teams have changed their style of play recently, it's more technical now. Again I've not seen Ireland play in the flesh but I have an idea what to expect and I hope we'll be able to match them and play our own style.
UEFA.com: What are your expectations for the tournament?
Burchel: I hope we'll play very well and put on a good spectacle – and if the performances are as good as I hope they will be, the results should be good too. If we can get to the semi-finals, that would be fantastic, and then we'll see.
UEFA.com: Do you expect playing at home to be a help for you?
Burchel: It's a definite advantage.
The stadiums are small and we expect big crowds at our games as the local fans will come out to support us – and we hope to give them something to celebrate.
UEFA.com: Romania also qualified for this year's European U17 Championship for the first time; how significant could this year be for Romanian football?
Burchel: To play in two finals in one summer is great for us; we're not at this level very often but it's a good sign for football development in our country. I was in Serbia for the U17s and I learnt a lot there; I saw another level of football and a different class of organisation, on and off the pitch. That's why I was there; to help my colleagues but also to get a feel for the atmosphere of a tournament.
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