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Greece advance and oust holders France

France 1-2 Greece
Holders France are out of the 2011 championship after Greece secured top spot in elite round Group 3 with a match to spare.

Konstantinos Rougkalas struck the goal that sent Greece through
Konstantinos Rougkalas struck the goal that sent Greece through ©Sportsfile

Holders France are out of the 2011 UEFA European Under-19 Championship after Greece secured a place in this summer's finals with a second successive elite round Group 3 victory.

France opened the scoring in Velky Biel through Saphir Taider on 21 minutes, but the 2007 runners-up quickly responded through Apostolos Vellios. Konstantinos Rougkalas then secured his side of top spot shortly after the break, his goal giving Greece another win to go with their opening-day success against mini-tournament hosts Slovakia.

Both teams adopted an attacking approach and France's athleticism paid off when Taider picked up the ball in midfield and slotted past Stefanos Kapino after running through the entire Greece defence. Leonidas Vokolos's men were not behind for long, however, as four minutes later Vellios buried into an empty net after a corner led to a goalmouth scramble.

Kapino then did superbly to deny Ishak Belfodil shortly before half-time, but that was as close as France would come to adding to the scoreline. Instead, it was Rougkalas who registered next, putting Greece ahead after a free-kick from Giannis Potouridis evaded the entire France defence. Philippe Bergeroo's charges enjoyed the majority of the possession thereafter, but they lacked penetration and will have just pride to play for when they face Slovakia on Wednesday.

"We prepared our players well tactically and the players did exactly what we told them before the match," said Vokolos. "They left their hearts on the pitch today and for me that's the most important thing. They fully deserved to qualify for the finals. We have one game left against Belarus; we'll take it seriously and try to win it, and then we'll enjoy our success and get ready for the final tournament."

"Greece deserved to qualify," added Bergeroo. "Our players weren't focused for the game. We watched them on video today and despite knowing their strengths, we conceded from a free-kick."