New boys prove worth on finals debut

Slovakia's 1-0 win in their 2013 UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group A opener proved to a delighted Ladislav Pecko that his team can compete with the continent's top sides.

New boys prove worth on finals debut
New boys prove worth on finals debut ©

Ladislav Pecko was happy to discover "we have a good team too" after Slovakia scored a dramatic opening win against Austria, while Roland Larsson, coach of fellow Group A debutants Sweden, told his side had been "terrific" in their defeat of Switzerland.

Ladislav Pecko, Slovakia coach
We won because we scored, but both teams had some good chances. I am very glad my players were also able to produce good football. This kind of high tempo in a game is very unusual in Slovakia. In junior categories, I don't think I've seen this up until now. It is very tough to play the first game in this kind of tournament. The players were a little bit nervous in the first ten minutes, but it is hard to criticise them, because also my legs were shaking. But then they played better. Austria went through some tough qualifiers and have a good team, but we proved we have a good team too. It is very pleasant to find that out.

Hermann Stadler, Austria coach
Straight after the game the emotions are, of course, not so rosy. We've conceded a goal in added time, after the 90th minute unfortunately – a bolt from the blue. It is bitter; it's the worst time to concede a goal. I think everyone who watched this game saw two sides who were really trying to win the game. The Slovakians were luckier than us. We need to get our heads clear as quickly as possible for the next two matches because there are six points available, and we will try to get them in the next two games. 

Heinz Moser, Switzerland coach
We wanted to start positively in this tournament. We didn't manage to do that. There is not a lot of time to work on it, but we have to quickly get back to work and show a reaction in the second game. I think we were good in our approach play, but today we were lacking the final touch. Sweden took advantage from one of the few chances they had in the first half. We lost today's game in both penalty areas where they were just a touch better, a bit more decisive. We have to put that right, have more conviction, and we really have to try and force a goal. Then we can be successful.

Roland Larsson, Sweden coach
We are very satisified because this was the first game in our first tournament and I think the boys were terrific. I think we had some really good chances. Switzerland are a very good team, really good I think, but we had more chances, more really good chances. So I think it is OK we won the game. I think it is a really good and interesting start to the tournament because the rookies both have three points.