Russia midfielder Oleg Shatov said that "dreams can come true" after his side beat play-off rivals the Czech Republic 4-2 on aggregate to book their place in the Under-21 finals.
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After Yuri Kirillov's late goal in today's 2-2 play-off second-leg draw sealed progress for Russia to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals, midfielder Oleg Shatov declared that "dreams can come true". Falling behind at 2-1 to two Tomáš Wágner strikes, the hosts were a goal away from being eliminated before Kirillov secured a 4-2 aggregate win with seven minutes remaining in Yekaterinburg. The Czech Republic ended with nine men, leaving a frustrated Wágner to lament that his double "should have been the most important goals of my career".
Oleg Shatov, Russia midfielder
We are extremely happy. This is beyond words. A year ago I could only dream of this, now the dream is reality. Dreams can come true. The game was not easy. The Czechs had nothing to lose. They played open football. They played well. I must admit, they looked fresher, better than us. But that's football. I knew that we would not miss out on victory, and we will go on, because we have a strong team and I believe in our guys.
Maksim Kanunnikov, Russia forward
We achieved the main result – we are at the European Championship. The Czech Republic played well, but thank God everything turned out well for us. Perhaps some of the luck was on our side. A full house gave us the extra strength and emotion to drive us forward.
Tomáš Wágner, Czech Republic
It is very frustrating to score twice in the second leg and not go through. After our second goal we were on top and had a few big chances to score a third. If we had done so, we would have won because the Russians were under huge pressure and they were very nervous. They should have been the most important goals of my career, but in the end it wasn't enough.