Jorge Vilda is aiming to lead Spain to their second straight Women's U17 title next month but as they prepare for the Nyon event he told UEFA.com "the favourites are always Germany".
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In one month's time Spain hope to lift the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship trophy in Nyon for the second year running, but must first get past Iceland in the last four. Coach Jorge Vilda, whose father Ángel led Spain to the 2009 final before handing over the reins and taking over the U19s, spoke to UEFA.com about their ambition and opponents.
UEFA.com: Are there big expectations on your team after victory last year?
Jorge Vilda: My team achieved its main objective this year which was to qualify for the finals for the third consecutive time; whatever comes our way now we will treat as a bonus. We wanted to be in the semi-finals and that's where we are. Let's see now if we are capable of taking one more step and getting to the final.
UEFA.com: What conclusions did you draw from the second qualifying round?
Vilda: The opposition are getting stronger and stronger and every year it is harder to qualify. There are teams emerging like the Czech Republic, who have very young players who give everything; they will be dangerous in the years to come.
UEFA.com: And what of your conclusions about Spain?
Vilda: We showed that our style of passing the ball round and quick exchanges are key to our success. We have to continue along that line if we want to go far in these tournaments.
UEFA.com: What do you know about Iceland, your semi-final opponents?
Vilda: They are a fast, strong side that completed the second qualifying round by winning all their games while showing great goalscoring ability. They're going to make things very difficult for us.
UEFA.com: Who do you see as the favourites to take the title?
Vilda: The favourites are always Germany. After that, any one of Spain, France and Iceland could go all the way. We three are very equal and anything can happen when we play against each other.
UEFA.com: How important are these tournament for player development?
Vilda: The tournaments are important as they teach the young girls how to compete. Once they achieve that then it's important to go on and try to win.
The UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship takes place in Nyon, Switzerland from 28 to 31 July.