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Sbardella extols Italy's collective strength

Published: Sunday 8 December 2013, 17.46CET
Italy coach Enrico Sbardella paid tribute to his side's "maturity" after they finished third by edging England 4-3 on penalties, with Lois Fidler philosophical in defeat.
by Sam Crompton
from Burton Albion FC Stadium
Published: Sunday 8 December 2013, 17.46CET

Sbardella extols Italy's collective strength

Italy coach Enrico Sbardella paid tribute to his side's "maturity" after they finished third by edging England 4-3 on penalties, with Lois Fidler philosophical in defeat.

Enrico Sbardella, Italy coach 
We prepared well for the game. Penalties are always a lottery, but we deserved to win over 80 minutes, although we were found wanting a bit in front of goal. We played well and imposed ourselves. Winning is always emotional, and when you do it on penalties it's even more emotional.

We wanted to finish the game off as early as we could because, having already played against England, we thought we would change a few things tactically, particularly with our wide players and in midfield. We held our own and wanted to finish the game off but didn't manage to do so, despite having some good chances.

The girls showed plenty of maturity to assume the honour and duty of taking a penalty. [Francesca Durante's] miss from the spot was compensated for by the two great saves she made. It's been a great experience and [playing in the World Cup] is something we never expected. We've finished third and that's something to be proud of. The girls are in fine spirits, but this is a win which belongs to everybody. All of the staff have given everything during the last six months.

Lois Fidler, England manager
Good luck and congratulations to Italy ahead of the World Cup. We're always gracious in defeat, but on this occasion the better side lost and Costa Rica will be a poorer place without us. The players need to remember what it feels like in this situation – they've got their whole careers ahead of them. They must hold their heads up high, be proud, bounce back and live to fight another day.

I've been doing this job for a long time and had the privilege of working with a large number of players who've gone on to be senior internationals. This is the best team I've worked with. The players have been fantastic, the staff have worked really hard, and I've got nothing but high expectations for a number of these players.

You learn about different playing styles, how the game's evolving, and pressures of tournament football. The players will take, most noticeably, how much preparation psychologically, physically and socially is needed to be successful at this level. I hope the players remember what it takes to perform well and take that into the next phase of their development.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with this team and group of players. I've had some highlights before with successes at World Cups and I know that's an amazing experience, but the way they've responded, supported each other, and consistently put 150% in has really pleased me. I can't fault any of our players from the starting XI to the substitutes.

Last updated: 09/12/13 11.59CET

Related information

http://www.uefa.com/womensunder17/news/newsid=2033691.html#sbardella+extols+italys+collective+strength

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