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Hoping to help Spain reach a fourth successive UEFA Under-19 Championship final, attacking midfielder Fede Vico is taking nothing for granted ahead of a sem-final against a "strong" France side.
Vico entered the fray with his team trailing 1-0 in their final Group A game against the Netherlands and his contribution helped the six-time winners to reverse the scoreline and eventually go on to win 3-2 to advance to the last four as section winners.
"When they scored their first goal we were a little bit taken aback," the RSC Anderlecht playmaker told UEFA.com. "However, we always knew that if we could start playing as we know how to there wouldnt be a problem, and in the second half we did just that."
Spain's response to Clint Leemans' first-half opener came in the form of Sandro Ramírez's second tournament goal and an Álvaro Vadillo strike nine minutes from time. Vico then put his team 3-1 ahead with a low drive from distance before an Oranje consolation penalty in the final seconds.
"It was a very difficult game as the Netherlands were playing for their tournament lives," Vico explained. "In many ways we were in the same situation although we did have an advantage in terms of points; we had six to the Netherlands' three prior to kick-off.
"We didnt start the game in the best way. At the break, our coach told us to get our act together. He said we couldn't continue to play the way we were doing and that there was so much at stake. We were playing for our families, for Spain and for ourselves. He reminded us that we had a very hard qualifying phase and that we had to get through."
Saying that the prospect of playing in next season's UEFA Champions League was a big lure in his recent decision to leave Córdoba CF for RSC Anderlecht, the 19-year-old added that his move from southern Spain nonetheless took some to get used to. "[Moving club] can be difficult as you are leaving your family, friends and your home," he said. "It takes time to adapt but I hope to do so as soon as possible and to enjoy playing football, which is what I like to do. I am really happy and full of hope and expectation after signing for Anderlecht. I am keen to get back there but first I am even more eager to become a European champion."
France will hope to have something to say about Vico's ambitions in Monday's last-four meeting against Luis de la Fuente's side, a repeat of the 2010 final which the French won on home soil. "I haven't seen France play yet but I imagine they are just as strong as the rest of the teams here," Vico said. "We obviously want to get past the semi-final and if we do that, to then really go for it [in the final]."
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