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Smerecki satisfied with France progression

Published: Saturday 27 July 2013, 0.10CET
Francis Smerecki was relieved that France confirmed their semi-final place with a draw against Serbia, whose coach Ljubinko Drulović masterminded a half-time improvement.
Smerecki satisfied with France progression
France celebrate Adrien Hunou's opening goal ©Sportsfile
Published: Saturday 27 July 2013, 0.10CET

Smerecki satisfied with France progression

Francis Smerecki was relieved that France confirmed their semi-final place with a draw against Serbia, whose coach Ljubinko Drulović masterminded a half-time improvement.

FRANCE 1-1 SERBIA
Francis Smerecki, France coach
I thought before the match that Serbia and France would qualify. There was a bit of importance attached to whether we finished first or second, but the most important thing was to make sure we got through. We played well in the first half and opened the scoring but, having done what we needed to do for an hour, tiredness and the fact we were almost qualified came into play and the intensity of our play dropped. Even with six changes, Serbia were a very well organised team. Despite those changes, they stayed very compact and very solid and they have two or three talented players. They're very hard to break down. In the semi-finals we have the four best teams, and it's natural that Serbia are part of that. 

We played well in the first half and opened the scoring but, having done what we needed to do for an hour, tiredness and the fact we were almost qualified came into play
Francis Smerecki
I said to the players before today that we should end the tournament with a victory  and I thanked them afterwards for their efforts
Okan Buruk

Ljubinko Drulović, Serbia coach
It was a very hard, tough game, firstly because our opponents are very good and also because of the weather. We showed we deserved our place in the semi-finals; we played well today. At half-time I told the players that they could match France. We played very well before France scored, but we weren't the same level after that. At half-time I wanted to prove to the team that they could play at the same level as France, that they could match them, and they did that [after the break]. We left our crucial players on the bench, not because of the game but because of yellow cards – we didn't want to lose them for the semi-finals. We also wanted to give our other players a chance because they deserved that. In the end we achieved both goals – we protected the players and we got the point that meant we finished first.

TURKEY 4-2 GEORGIA
Okan Buruk, Turkey coach
It was a really strange game. At this level both teams shouldn't be giving that many chances to the opposition; there shouldn't have been so many goals. Georgia had to win so we knew what their strategy would be and that they would give away chances at some stage, especially in central defence. We took advantage of that. In the first game we didn't play well against Serbia and had three players suspended; against France we played a little bit better. I said to the players before today that we should end the tournament with a victory  and I thanked them afterwards for their efforts.

Giorgi Tsetsadze, Georgia coach
For the first ten minutes we were great. When I saw that, I thought that maybe my players could do the same for 90 minutes. The most important point was when Turkey scored their third goal. After that my players' heads dropped a little. We had a good chance to win but after the third goal it was a difficult situation. There were some mistakes but I don't want to talk about today's match in that manner. Turkey were very good. They managed to score against Serbia, France and now us. When we played in the elite round we were not favourites to get through. The big teams didn't think we were strong then. A European Championship is a different stage, however, as all the teams are at the same level.

Last updated: 04/09/13 20.21CET

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