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Giuntini: Shoot-out win was just reward for France

Jean-Claude Giuntini said France's shoot-out triumph over Belgium in the semi-finals was "compensation for the amount of attempts on goal we had" in normal time.

France right-back Alec Georgen tries to halt Belgium's Ismail Azzaoui from breaking away
France right-back Alec Georgen tries to halt Belgium's Ismail Azzaoui from breaking away ©Sportsfile

France reach their fourth U17 Championship final, beating Belgium 2-1 on penalties
The match ended 1-1, France's Odsonne Edouard scoring and having a penalty saved
France keeper Luca Zidane made three stops in the shoot-out and hit the bar himself
France coach Jean-Claude Giuntini says his side deserved to win over 80 minutes
Belgium's Bob Browaeys expresses his pride at the Red Devils' showing in Bulgaria

Bob Browaeys, Belgium coach
Penalties are always a lottery – it's 50-50. First of all, I'm proud of the players' performance – they did very well. This was their 11th game in the competition this season. We wanted a 12th, but we have to accept this. I must congratulate France – they have a fantastic team, which they proved today. They had the best chances, but my players did everything and reacted very well in the second half.

The second half was excellent. The first half was OK until France scored, then we were mentally and physically a little bit down. We are a small country. You have to respect France, but where we have one talented player they have ten. Reaching the semi-finals is a big achievement for Belgium. The players can learn a lot from these games. Now we have to analyse the matches we've played here ahead of the [FIFA U-17] World Cup.

Highlights: Belgium 1-1 France

When my goalkeeper saved the penalty [in the first half] I felt mentally there was a shift towards us. We made it 1-1 and did everything to at least keep it that way. My players are very disappointed, everybody is, because we were so close to the final, but we have to be proud and satisfied with the job they did. We go back to Belgium tomorrow with a good feeling. Now it's reflection time for everyone and we must think about how we can do better.

Jean-Claude Giuntini, France coach
My players were very good in the second half, while the first period was more difficult. Belgium had one more day of rest compared to us and it was a little bit hard for my players. The second half was definitely better. And I must say, they have a very good goalkeeper.

Penalties are always a lottery; anyone can win. Belgium won on penalties in the previous round. We were luckier this time, but sometimes in football you need to have luck on your side. It was compensation for the amount of attempts on goal we had – we should have won the match in regulation time. Going to penalties is very cruel and psychologically difficult.