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All still to play for in Group A

Published: Tuesday 23 July 2013, 22.00CET
The coaches respond after a second incident-filled round of matches in UEFA European Under-19 Championship Group A ended with two of the last four berths yet to be decided.
All still to play for in Group A
Spain coach Luis de la Fuente was pleased with his side's effort ©Sportsfile
Published: Tuesday 23 July 2013, 22.00CET

All still to play for in Group A

The coaches respond after a second incident-filled round of matches in UEFA European Under-19 Championship Group A ended with two of the last four berths yet to be decided.

Having seen his side earn their second win in Group A, Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said that Iker Hernández's early strike settled his Spanish players against a resolute Lithuania side. His counterpart Antanas Vingilys, meanwhile, said that the hosts had been beaten by a technically gifted group of individuals. Portugal coach Emílio Peixe warned his players against getting carried away following their fine win against the Netherlands, saying that one more win was needed should they hope to advance. The young Oranje's Wim van Zwam promised lessons would be learned from the 4-1 loss.

Lithuania 0-2 Spain
Luis de la Fuente, Spain coach
We had to put in another tremendous effort against another very disciplined rival. Every player worked hard. We had a lot of possession but could have created a few more chances. It was very difficult trying to break down our opponents' defence. I am happy in general with my team. In terms of defending, we like to do so while in possession of the ball. Although I am satisfied I think we can get better. We haven't spent that much time together. Today's dangerous moments against us came from strategic moves or dead-ball situations. 

Every team here is very dangerous and no team presents you with chances. We thought that our [early] goal would have opened Lithuania up a little more but they continued playing exactly the same way. Until we went 2-0 up they didn't move that far forward and continued trying not to give away chances. The good point about scoring so early was that it settled us. We felt that there would be room out wide having watched Lithuania's previous game against the Netherlands. The solution to a lack of space in the centre was to use the wings where we have fast players. Let's now see if we can overcome the Netherlands and reach the semi-finals. 

Antanas Vingilys, Lithuania coach
I would like to thank all of the supporters. It was a really fantastic surprise to see so many of our fans inside the stadium. We had our gameplan in this match just like in the tournament in general which was to defend well and look to counterattack at pace. Spain were a much better team individually and deserved to win.

Our left-back today is not that comfortable in the position and it was a problem for us. I am sure in the next game he will do a lot better. We have to understand that he doesn't have international experience or experience of playing in front of such a big crowd. But we don't blame him and he is a very good prospect for the future. In regards to qualification, only two teams can go through to the semi-finals but we still have one match left and we will do our best. 

Netherlands 1-4 Portugal
Emílio Peixe, Portugal coach
We've beaten the Netherlands – the Under-17 champions from two years ago – and now we'll focus on the rest of the competition. We played very well, like we did in the first match against Spain. Nothing was different from today to Saturday. There was the same attitude and effort from our players. The team concentrated well, my players were focused on what they should be doing and when that happens things go smoothly.

It was great for [Alexandre] Guedes to score twice. In the last match he also worked hard and had some chances but he was not as efficient. The most important thing is the team as a whole and we're very happy with everyone's work. It's only one match, however, and we have a long way to go. I want to stress that we need to win another game to get through to the next round. We knew this group would be decided in the very last minutes of the third game. I feel that the players want to leave their mark on this competition and that's very good.

Wim van Zwam, Netherlands coach
Congratulations to Portugal – they have a couple of excellent players and they made the difference in the second half on the counterattack. It was a difficult game for us but I don't think we played that badly. The game had three different parts. I think it was even to start with but after 15 minutes they improved. We dropped too deep and gave the ball away too easily. They had some good combinations on the left and that's how the first goal arrived – they deserved that. After that we got better and better and should have scored, but instead they scored a second goal from our mistake. At this level if you make a mistake like that, it's a goal, and that's what they have to learn.

The most important thing for young players is to learn what the situation asks of them. Sometimes you have to play the long ball – when you're under pressure, a long ball behind the opposition changes the game and means you play in their half. We scored a beautiful goal to make it 4-1 but that's not enough.

Of course we're very disappointed but tomorrow we will wake up and start again and then focus on Spain; that's our last chance. Normally it's hard to pick the players up. Before we had great hopes for the semi-final but it's hard for everybody. Portugal had to do the same – they played well against Spain and lost, and so they had to pick themselves up and beat us. Now we need to do the same – that's the only chance we have.

Last updated: 25/07/13 14.37CET

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