Hesterine de Reus likened the Netherlands' defending to that of FC Internazionale Milano in the UEFA Champions League final after watching the Jong Oranje clinically dispatch France 2-0 in their first Group B encounter. Les Bleuettes controlled territory and possession for large swathes but, as France coach Jean-Michel Degrange testified, found it "difficult to unlock their defence". The going was easier for Spain against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as they defeated the hosts 6-0. There were only two goals in it until the closing stages when, as both coaches admitted, Spain's superior fitness levels began to tell.
Hesterine de Reus, Netherlands coach
We controlled the game, especially in the second half. In the first half, France also had some good chances but after the break they didn't have any. We were very effective with corner kicks so I'm very pleased with our start to the competition. Against the hosts it will be tough because they are the home team but we've got good players so it could be that we win. We did a great job defensively, perhaps it was a bit like Inter Milan.
Jean-Michel Degrange, France coach
I'm not really disappointed with my team because we tried. It was really difficult when we had free-kicks because their defence blocked everything and they were really compact. It wasn't good conceding twice from corners. It’s difficult for my players to be in such situations and concede two goals but these things happen. We didn't succeed in unbalancing the Netherlands' defence. We had a lot of possession but it was too difficult to unlock their defence.
Ángel Vilda, Spain coach
It's the first day and the first match of the tournament, so it will take more time for the teams to learn about each other and to see who the favourites are. This game went the way we hoped and expected because we were the favourites, but FYROM were tough opponents. They fought very hard in the first half and made life difficult for us, but after the break they began to tire and that's why we were able to score so many goals at the end.
Dobrislav Dimovski, FYROM coach
The way the game went showed that our fitness levels are not as high as Spain's; theirs were clearly much better. It's also true that our players are mostly a couple of years younger than our opponents', and that's why we conceded so many goals at the end. In the first half, our team played well and the scoreline reflected that at the interval. But then we let in a goal shortly after half-time and that put us in a bad position. By the end of the game, the score was very heavy and very negative for us.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.