France coach Gilles Eyquem was delighted his game plan was carried out to the letter – much to the frustration of Germany's Maren Meinert who nonetheless applauded the winners.
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Gilles Eyquem, France coach
It's really pleasing. The players showed a lot of courage and self-sacrifice. They did exactly what we asked of them. They won a lot of battles out there, scored two great goals and it was a really good, well-executed and focused performance. We couldn't be happier with how it went.
The aim was to frustrate Germany, to deny them space, because although they are an excellent side we knew they had profited from opposition mistakes in previous matches. Here I have to mention the work of our video analyst and technical observer who watched Germany's three group games. We knew Germany would be a great opponent. Yesterday we worked on our organisation and tactics, we knew exactly what we had to do. But equally we worked on what to do when we had the ball and finding a way of getting behind their defence.
We have a top defence with players like Griedge Mbock Bathy who is one of the best defenders at this tournament. Aissatou Tounkara is also a fine defender. We are a very solid team, with two central midfielders who won a lot of balls for us, Aminata Diallo and Ghoutia Karchouni. Up front Clarisse Le Bihan did a great job and was able to cause them problems alongside Sandie Toletti. In the second half we also introduced more pace and urgency [with Claire Lavogez and Kadidiatou Diani].
Now we'll watch the England-Finland game and take it from there, analysing them closely. There is a lot of tiredness but the girls will be lifted by their win and we'll go again on Saturday once we've recovered.
Maren Meinert, Germany coach
It was an even game in the first half, with chances on both sides; but their two goals were a bad start to the second half. We made an individual mistake which they took full advantage of, then we conceded from a set piece. If you are 2-0 down, things get difficult. But we never gave up. We also had a chance to take the lead ourselves so it is really annoying not to have reached the final. We congratulate France, though, because they deserved it. Overall I am very pleased with my team as they gave their all. It was just one of those days where things didn't work out.
If you look at this game you have to say we simply had to pull one back earlier. With ten, 15 minutes left, something would have been possible. There were situations where we don't really know why we finished like we did, or where the French player somehow manages to clear the ball over the bar instead of under it. We created a lot of pressure but could not pull one back in time.
We were not the worse side, but we respect France: today they found a way to beat us and we have to accept that. We have qualified for the [FIFA U-20 Women's] World Cup, which is great for this team, and I am sure we will develop even further next year. But we would have liked to win this title because I believe we were the best side here and it is sad not to even reach the final. If you want to achieve something, you have to win games like this.