France coach Francisco Rubio spoke with pride after his side achieved their objective of reaching both the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final and the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan. They did so with a 5-1 semi-final victory against Switzerland, whose coach acknowledged that they were outplayed by superior opponents.
Francisco Rubio, France coach
We're relieved to have won. It means we have a final to contest and will take part in the World Cup. I'm proud of the girls and satisfied with the performance.
I knew we had more quality than the Swiss but it was a question of proving that on the pitch. Maybe we didn't play as well today as we have done in qualifying. We weren't at our sharpest but our team spirit was definitely there and we were relatively efficient in front of goal, so we really deserved this victory.
Sandie Toletti, France captain
It was hard at the beginning because we let in a goal, but we managed to fight back. It was important we didn't let them build on that and gain in confidence, so I'm pleased we had the mental strength to reply quickly. It was a pity that I missed the penalty but these things happen. In the end it was a really good collective effort from the team.
Brigitte Steiner, Switzerland coach
We're disappointed with the result, but we were playing against a team which was superior to us in every position. They were technically and tactically better than us, but we knew it would be like that. We knew we had to be on top of our game and that France would have to have a bad day for us to get a positive result. That didn't happen today.
We switched off after we scored and although we improved in the second half, France punished us. We have a good team and I am proud of them, but we are still far away from being at the very highest level.
Sabrina Ribeaud, Switzerland forward
All the team are disappointed. It's a painful result. We started well and, of course, got the early goal, but we didn't focus properly after taking the lead and they scored almost immediately. As France made it 2-1, 3-1 and so on, they just got more confident. They were strong in midfield. Sandie Toletti was very dominant – she is a very good player. However, it was unbelievable to see all the Swiss people there to support us. That was fantastic.
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