Italy coach Pietro Ghedin was a tired but elated man after admitting to a sleepless night before his team defeated England 2-1 in their opening Group C encounter at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™.
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Italy coach Pietro Ghedin was a tired but elated man after admitting to a sleepless night before his team defeated England 2-1 in their opening Group C encounter at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™. The 56-year-old went into the game at Lahti Stadium intimidated by England's quality, yet he came out of praising a "deserved" win, while his counterpart Hope Powell paid tribute to her charges for putting in such a determined effort despite losing Casey Stoney to a red card after just 28 minutes.
Pietro Ghedin, Italy coach
We're obviously very happy. The England team is very tough, but I think Italy were better today and I'm glad because the girls haven't played for three months as there's a summer break in Italy. All the players worked on their fitness alone at home, without other players or the coaches. We've only had 20 days together. No more than that because we didn't have time. I'm very surprised at how my players played. We had one more player than them [after the sending off], and England had one player fewer, but I think we deserved to win.
We did everything very well today. We tried to defend well first then attack as well. I think the England team was better prepared, but what we did was enough to win today. We came here to Finland only two days ago and we wanted to play a good game and impose our style of play. I think we succeeded in doing that. Yesterday, I didn't sleep. I saw a lot of videos of England and went to Cyprus to see them at that tournament, so I understood that they're a very strong team.
Melania Gabbiadini, Italy midfielder & Carlsberg Player of the Match
Winning this means a lot to me but I think it's an award for the whole team. I think the England team is very tough so we're very happy about the victory. We hadn't prepared as well as England, but all that counts is what happens in the match. I think the red card was the right decision.
Hope Powell, England manager
We took the lead with ten players and I take my hat off to them. I thought they were excellent and at times I thought we played better with ten players, especially at the start of the second half. It's another experience; it's difficult playing against a team of Italy's quality with just ten players. The longer the game went on, we were just hoping we could hold and be bold. It was a cracking goal, their second, and we can't complain. The result didn't go our way today but we still have two games. Credit to Italy, they played well, took the game to us, got the result they wanted and we live to fight another day.
Make no mistake, the girls are shattered. But they'll bounce back, we'll have to. This one is done and dusted. We lost and we move on. We've got another two games. We won our first against Finland in England [four years ago] but went out, while Finland went through, so we'll do our level best in the next two games to try to get out of the group. At times I think we played well, especially with ten players. We've got fight in us, battle. I think we showed that with ten players. We took the lead, we were still fighting, still pressing for another goal. [We've got] depth in the squad, we can shuffle players around – so there's lots to take out of it.
Obviously, everybody's aware [Kelly Smith's] had a few problems with her knees. I thought we could do all right without her and we did until the sending off. But obviously we had to rethink the strategy, she came on and I think she did OK. [Anita Asante has injured her] knee and ankle. I did say to Anita: 'You've got to tell me if you're struggling and she told me: 'I need to come off.'