Emotions contrasted in Kumanovo as France trainer Jean-Michel Degrange savoured his team's semi-final win, while Germany's stand-in coach Bettina Wiegmann was left ruing a lack of ideas.
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Emotions contrasted in Kumanovo as France trainer Jean-Michel Degrange savoured his side's passage through to Saturday's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship final, while Germany stand-in coach Bettina Wiegmann was left ruing her team's lack of a cutting edge. Degrange praised "the quality of our kicks" after a game that had finished 1-1 was decided from the spot, and can now plan for holders England – "another tough opponent" – with Wiegmann and Co hoping to "bounce back" in July's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup on home soil.
Jean-Michel Degrange, France coach
It's great for the girls and I think they deserve it after all the work they've done, even if the match was very even at the end of normal time. Both teams had a few chances to score and afterwards we were lucky enough not to miss any penalties. That's part of the game, even if it's difficult to be eliminated in such a fashion.
I held penalty practice in our last training session and we took it very seriously. The girls understood that it was perhaps an important moment and they took their responsibility very well. In the end, the quality of our penalties told.
England are next and they'll be another tough opponent as they're the holders. I was impressed with them during the La Manga tournament and their strikers scored a lot of goals, but in a final anything can happen and both teams will have their chances.
It's great for this squad because last year we didn't really perform as we ought to have done in our semi-final. We were able to keep the core of the squad together, though, and our experience helped us here.
Bettina Wiegmann, Germany coach
We're devastated because we were never able to play our game. We made a lot of little mistakes and that meant we couldn't perform as well as we did against England. France did a great job and they defended very strongly and denied us any space. We never came up with the right idea to find a way through them, so we didn't score a second goal. We had a lot of ball possession because France played very deep, but we never got our game going which is the big disappointment for us.
You need luck to win on penalty kicks and France had five players who scored and did a great job, while we missed one. We have a very young team, so we'll be back next year. Many of these players were born in 1992 and will be back to play another U19 European Championship. Next year will be another tournament and they'll have got great experience from this year and will hopefully do better.
Some of these players could also play in the U20 World Cup. We will agree on our squad in the next few days and it will be a good chance to bounce back.