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Sbardella celebrates historic step for Italy

Published: Friday 29 November 2013, 17.00CET
Italy coach Enrico Sbardella hailed a "historic" achievement by his players after they advanced to the semi-finals on their finals debut with a 2-0 win against Portugal.
by Simon Hart
from Hinckley Stadium
Published: Friday 29 November 2013, 17.00CET

Sbardella celebrates historic step for Italy

Italy coach Enrico Sbardella hailed a "historic" achievement by his players after they advanced to the semi-finals on their finals debut with a 2-0 win against Portugal.

Enrico Sbardella, Italy coach
I'm not happy with the performance to be honest but with the result, yes. We've achieved a historic qualification for the semi-finals. It was a performance affected by the heavy pitch and the wind – a strong wind which didn't let us play the kind football we know how to, but I'm delighted with the result all the same.

We wanted to finish the game off as quickly as we could because we know Portugal well, we played them a month ago in the elite round [losing 2-1] and we knew we had to get in front early as otherwise they would cause us problems with their aggression. We played well and at their best moment we were able to hurt them on the counterattack.

We have a big squad and four wide attackers who are interchangeable and they are making the difference for us right now, against England and again today. It is another string to our bow. They're young and quick and so keen to do well.

The objective was to come here to England, to play and enjoy ourselves and make the most of this wonderful experience. We have succeeded in doing that and winning and we will carry on this way without setting ourselves any goals although now that we're in the semi-finals we have to look ahead, also to a potential third-place play-off which would qualify us for the World Cup.

Susana Cova, Portugal coach
It's not over. We will try to get much better [against England] than we were today and try to go into the last game with more quality and try to get a win. The other game [0-0 against Austria on Tuesday] was the same.

We were able to get a bit nearer to the opposition goal but lacked composure. Our decision-making wasn't very good from the midfield to the front and our forwards' efforts weren't the best so we will have to keep working on those things.

We found the conditions difficult. The first half was very difficult and it wasn't good for our game. We lacked the composure and even if we were a little bit better in the second half, we couldn't get to [the level] we wanted.

We enjoyed the first game much more than this – there were very good things we did [against Austria] that we weren't able to do in this game. We caused ourselves difficulties, but we are here for that – to learn and to keep working and showing them the way.

Last updated: 30/11/13 13.08CET

Related information

http://www.uefa.com/womensunder17/news/newsid=2029720.html#sbardella+celebrates+historic+step+italy

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