Drulović delights in Serbia's 'best result'
Monday, July 29, 2013
Ljubinko Drulović described the semi-final shoot-out win against Portugal as "the best result in Serbian history" while Emílio Peixe swelled with pride for his beaten players.
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Ljubinko Drulović, Serbia coach
It was fantastic. We've dreamed about this from the first day we got together. Thanks to the players for giving me this emotion and for giving us the best result in the history of Serbian youth football. We played against a fantastic team who were perhaps the favourites for the tournament. I have a lot of friends in Portugal and the coach is a very good friend, so it was a very emotional game in lots of ways. This is Serbia's biggest youth success in 15 years.
We started the game brilliantly and had some chances to get a second goal. Portugal's reaction was expected, they're one of the best teams in Europe and played very well. Both teams found the heat hard but I want to thank my players for an incredible 120 minutes.
I have my own theory about penalties – the team who misses first always wins. I predicted there would be a lot of misses from both teams because all the players had been concentrating so hard. Our goalkeeper Predrag Rajković was brilliant and made some great saves, particularly from the fifth penalty, to give us the chance to win it – and we took it.
Aleksandar Mitrović is a great player, a really big prospect. He's probably one of the best young players in Europe in his position at the moment. If he continues to play like this, he's a future star – he can be a really big player.
It wasn't important who we played in the semi-final and we're not thinking about our final opponents. We will play our own game. All the teams in the semi-final are big and I don't care who we play. Small details will decide the final.
Emílio Peixe, Portugal coach
We were the better team. Since the first match of the tournament we've played with real quality and we've grown throughout the competition. Serbia had two shots and scored twice; our goalkeeper didn't have anything else to do. We are proud of what we've achieved at this tournament – these players have a very big future and they're great prospects.
The match did not start as well as we wanted it to, obviously, but we reacted to Serbia's goal quite well. We managed to turn the score round and we didn't want to go to penalties – it's always a lottery and we weren't lucky today. We deserved to get to the final, we came here as outsiders but we're proud of what we've done.
We always believed we would win this game. We had a dream to go to the final; we came to Lithuania with that dream, but we still have quality players despite losing. We are sad because we have lost but we're happy with how we've done here; we had four U18 players in this squad and this team has a great future.