Smerecki celebrates first achievement

France coach Francis Smerecki enjoyed "achieving our first objective" after the hosts beat the Netherlands, for whom Wim van Zwam bemoaned a "sloppy" opening to Group A.

Smerecki celebrates first achievement
Smerecki celebrates first achievement © 1998-2012. All rights reserved.

France coach Francis Smerecki was celebrating "achieving our first objective" after the UEFA European Under-19 Championship hosts kicked off Group A with an emphatic win against the Netherlands, for whom Wim van Zwam could only bemoan a "sloppy" display. England's Noel Blake breathed a sigh of relief after his side got the better of a five-goal thriller against Austria, whose coach Andreas Heraf felt plenty of pride in defeat. hears from the four Group A teams.

Francis Smerecki, France coach

It is always better to start with a victory, especially against the Netherlands. Scoring several goals is a good omen yet I know that a single win is not enough. We saw tonight that with enthusiasm, desire, heart and generosity, we can reach our objectives in this tournament. It is a great satisfaction because you are always worried at the start of a tournament about the physical preparation. We had a fairly good first half where we might have deserved a bigger lead but we dropped off in the second period. The Netherlands were probably annoyed and tried to come back but we had enough resources in terms of moral, willingness and technique to contain their surge. We set the tone but now we have to reach our next objective. The first one, which was to have a good start, is reached but we have other high goals.

Wim van Zwam, Netherlands coach
It was not the Dutch team I'm used to seeing, especially in the first half. We weren't at the level we can play; we were sloppy in offence and sloppy in defence. We gave some big chances to France and I congratulate them and their coach, because they deserved the win and we didn't. We made it a real game in the second half and got some chances; we were lucky to get back to 2-1 and we created chances to make it 2-2 but didn't take them and France scored twice on the counterattack. That was the game. They deserved the win but we can do a better job than this. We can improve everything.

Noel Blake, England manager
Sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition. We had pre-warned the players, we knew they were a good side, but sometimes you need that wake-up call and maybe that was ours today. The first game in any tournament is very difficult; you play it cautious because you don't want to lose. We started slow but once we opened our shape a little bit we controlled the possession in the first half a lot better. They had a few situations, hit the bar and had one pushed past the post as well but after that we tightened up and looked threatening at the other end.

Andreas Heraf, Austria coach
I'm happy with the game as a whole. We have a little problem in defence, we know that. Two very good players are missing [Aleksandar Dragović and Patrick Farkas]; we had problems anyway and now we're missing two players but the way we played was brilliant, I'm very proud of this team. They are the youngest team in the tournament but we had an incredible rate of possession and a draw would have been the right result. England have some good strikers and they only need two or three chances to score.