Marta Vergani and Lisa Boattin epitomised the belief that permeates the Italy squad when they spoke to UEFA.com about their shoot-out defeat of England.
"We were convinced we would win," said defender Vergani, whose decisive penalty secured the Azzurrini third place and a FIFA Women's U-17 World Cup berth in March. Italy's composure from the spot also drew praise from captain Boattin, who pinpointed her side's second-half showing against Germany in the semi-finals as a personal highlight.
As for England skipper Leah Williamson, she took great pride in defeat and reflected fondly on an "invaluable experience" as part of a tightly-knit group at the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship.
Marta Vergani, Italy defender
It's a great feeling, I'm delighted with the win and above all because we're a great group of girls and we deserve this. We were convinced we would win, even if the goal wouldn't arrive. We had great belief in what we were doing and pressed hard for the victory.
I was nervous [when stepping up to take a penalty] but I told myself 'it's a game, whatever happens happens' and I had all my team-mates behind me, so I stepped up and struck it. We're delighted [to be going to Costa Rica]. It's going to be a new experience, like these last few weeks have been. It's been difficult physically, but we have a great squad and we've all helped each other. It's been an amazing experience.
Lisa Boattin, Italy captain
It's still sinking in, but we're delighted and extremely proud to have achieved something which no team at this level has done before. We wasted lots of chances and could have finished the game off sooner. We believed in ourselves right to the end and there was no letting up for a second. When it got to penalties, there was a lot of tension – who will take them, who could miss.
However, on the whole, we remained relax. The game against Germany gave us a lot of confidence. They're a great side and caused us lots of problems but we reacted and were able to match them in the second half. This was a personal highlight. We're a team united – everyone is delighted.
Leah Williamson, England captain
We played well. England teams always get stronger as the tournament goes on. Congratulations to Italy, but we had our chances to win the game. It wasn't to be, though, and we've got to hold our heads high because we did deliver and play well. A lot of us have said that this is the tightest team we've played in. I'm just thankful to have had this opportunity and been part of it. It's proven to be a very valuable experience, especially with players going up to the seniors.
My goal now is to break into the Under-19 team, keep performing at my club, and get re-selected. The support has been phenomenal, the atmosphere in the first game was crazy and something these players have never experienced. When you're performing on the pitch, you feel you're performing for them. It's been brilliant.
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