One half of France's impressive central-defensive partnership with goalscorer Wendie Renard, Laura Georges praised her side for being "really solid again" in the 1-0 defeat of Spain that sent them through to the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 quarter-finals as Group C winners with a game to spare.
"We're not going to celebrate quite yet" added fit-again schemer Louisa Necib, who expressed her delight at being back in the starting lineup for Les Bleues after a hip injury. The mood in the Spain camp was optimistic, meanwhile, with goalkeeper Ainhoa Tirapu quick to point out: "If we draw against Russia [on Thursday], we'll be second."
Laura Georges, France defender
We've qualified. It's true that we wanted to win this second game to be safe and qualify in a good way. It's done. We now have time – two rest days to work on our third game.
We knew this game was important because we could qualify for the quarter-finals. We were excited but at the same time we knew Spain are a good team. It was a surprise that they won the first game [against England]. We knew we had to be really solid again. We scored really early, but it was difficult to keep the lead. Towards the end we were scared of conceding a goal and coming away with a draw, but at the end we were really happy. It will be easier to prepare for the England game.
I think we panicked a little because the clock was ticking down and we were not able to score the second goal. The end of the game was a bit difficult because Spain could have scored at any time. But we held out, which shows we're better at that aspect of the game.
The coach will decide if he wants to rotate [against England]. It's true that it's easier now for us to go into the third match against England. We might rotate, I don't know – it's for the coach to decide.
Louisa Necib, France midfielder
We're having a pretty good evening. We won the match and we've finished first of the group, apparently. It's pretty good. Overall, every girl in the team had a fantastic match today. We worked a lot. The coach decided on a tactic and we applied it quite well.
Personally, I feel better and better. It's true that I was away injured for eight days, but I'm back – it's great.
We're not going to celebrate quite yet. We're still playing the first round. There are still a lot of games to play, so we'll prepare for the next match so that we can play in the best way possible.
Miriam Diéguez, Spain midfielder
We can be very happy with the job the defence did. Their goal come so early and after that we tried to score throughout the game, but it wasn't to be. We knew we had no leeway to drop points. We tried to win the game from the start but we knew there was a chance we would lose because France are our strongest opponents. But now we have the match against Russia and we will win that game and take the three points.
Especially in the first half, I think we had the ball more than they did and we were very patient. The key was to play close to each other because they are a little stronger than us. [We just lacked] a bit of luck in certain moments of the game. But that's football; they scored from a corner and did not have many chances. We came so close, but now we have to think about the next game.
Ainhoa Tirapu, Spain goalkeeper
I think we did a great job defensively. France are a team who make a lot of moves and a lot of opportunities, and I think we stopped them very well. Then we tried to play our game, but it cost us more than the other day [against England]. Overall, we did a good job in defence.
We struggled to get the ball and France closed the gaps well. We tried to play on the wings but lacked precision. We lacked a little something, because came so close, especially early in the game and the beginning of the second half, because then we had chances to level the match. We lacked something offensively.
The truth is that we wanted to get to the final game with our chances intact. We thought that if we took points in one of the first two games and won the last [against Russia] we could have a chance to be third or second. If we draw against Russia, we'll be second so we have a big chance. I think we have a good team and good qualities to win that game.
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