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The Netherlands coach Foppe de Haan admitted to being "excited rather than nervous" after 90 minutes before his side defeated France 3-2 in extra time to progress to the final of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Nicky Hofs scored twice – including the winner – and Klaas Jan Huntelaar the other, with Julien Faubert and Bryan Bergougnoux replying for France. uefa.com hears from the coaches in Braga.
Foppe de Haan, Netherlands coach
France had one more day of rest and played with second team in their last match, while we had a really tough game against Italy. Physically that left us at a disadvantage and in the first few minutes you could see we were nervous. The defence was not perfect at the start but we had lots of power up front with Romeo Castelen and Hofs playing well. The second goal from Klaas was a real beauty. The tournament didn’t start too well but things changed in the first half against Denmark. We were waiting for the forwards to reach their level and now they have. The mentality is changing in Dutch youth teams – we are now aware that the result is the most important thing.
I wasn't nervous at the end of normal time but excited. You’re thinking: What do I have to do? Do I change things? Who? When? Where? Everyone is tired but then they have a player sent off so what do you do then? I said to the players to play football but let the ball go at the right time; that's our problem, and we would be a very good team if we released it at the right time. France are a very good team and there were duels all over the pitch – we lost a few of them - but when Nicky scored I was very pleased I can tell you.
René Girard, France coach
There's not much to say. We conceded three goals in one game which means something isn't right. We created three or four chances in the first half without really playing very well and we had to use a lot of energy in the second half to equalise. I can't explain why we didn't play the football we can and that's the disappointing thing. We were called the favourites because we showed that we can play some excellent football. The Dutch have some quality players but so do we. The difference today was defensively but we can't dwell on that. It was just not our best game when we should have produced a fantastic game to reach the final. I would like to thank the Portuguese people for their hospitality because tonight we will be going home. Football is like this.
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