The Republic of Ireland coach Paul Doolin and his Czech Republic counterpart Jaroslav Hřebík were celebrating as their sides displayed fortitude and control respectively to claim the top two places in UEFA European Under-19 Championship Group A. Romania's Lucian Burchel was left disappointed at a return of one point from three games while Leonidas Vokolos believes his Greece players can head home feeling proud of their efforts.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 0-0 ROMANIA
Paul Doolin, Republic of Ireland coach
It's incredible for us to be in the semi-finals. We knew it was going to be a tough game, especially as they were the hosts and were extra motivated to win having lost their first two games. We were aware that in the first 25 minutes they would come at us. Our players are fantastic, though, and they kept their shape while also creating a few chances. It was very warm so for us to finish the way we did, especially defensively, was outstanding. Our players were on their knees at times.
Nobody deserves to get this far in a tournament; you have to earn that right. It was a fantastic effort from everybody. What an incentive we have now; not only are we playing in the semi-finals but we also get to do so against Spain; you couldn't ask for anything more. It's going to be a huge challenge.
Lucian Burchel, Romania coach
We are sorry we couldn't win at least one match as tournament hosts. We tried to play offensive, spectacular football and my initial impression is that we deserved to score at least once. I would like to congratulate the Republic of Ireland for their qualification. Having seen their first two games I didn't expect them to be under as much pressure to get a positive result; had we known that beforehand we would have attacked them in the first half like we did in the second. I am happy that my players managed to increase the quality of their game in such a crucial match. I would like to express my gratitude to the fans here this evening; they really got behind us.
CZECH REPUBLIC 1-0 GREECE
Jaroslav Hřebík, Czech Republic coach:
Today's match was very, very tough tactically; we knew we couldn't afford to lose but we didn't try to play postively at first. We had a lot of material about Greece, we knew their style, and if we didn't play as well as we wanted sometimes, we were in control most of the time. We eliminated the strongest side of Greece's game and that's how we could play ourselves.
As soon as we scored our players relaxed, the pressure and tension went out of them and after that we managed to play well.
Leonidas Vokolos, Greece coach
I'm very happy with how we tried; we leave here with our heads held high. Congratulations to the Czechs and Ireland for qualifying. Today we were better for 45 minutes, tried hard and missed two or three chances. Had we scored then, the game would have been different. In the second half we were under pressure to get the result and as a consequence tired and picked up a couple of injuries. We really tried in the last 20 minutes but couldn't do it. This is the end of what has been a good year for us; we have a small group of players who'll be the basis of the squad next year. For me the most important thing is to try; if you do that and don't get the result, you can't blame yourself.
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