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Smerecki celebrates French efficiency

Having come out on top in "a great semi-final", France coach Francis Smerecki and his Spain counterpart Luis de la Fuente both pointed to Les Petits Bleus' cutting edge.

France celebrate beating Spain in extra time
France celebrate beating Spain in extra time ©Sportsfile

Francis Smerecki, France coach
Congratulations to Spain, they're a very good team. It was a difficult, even match. They controlled the match but we had better chances. Each team had moments. We could have won it in the 90th minute with [Adrien] Hunou's chance and then we had some more chances when we were in front. It was a great semi-final.

In such a close match, small details make the difference, Spain had studied our game, they played with great intensity and we couldn't find any space. We responded and had our chances on the counterattack. We scored twice and had three great other chances – and that was the difference. There was very little between the teams.

Our players are disciplined and serious in their work. Our defensive base is very strong. We haven't conceded a goal from open play during the tournament – they follow instructions very well. They will have to do the same in the final.

Before the competition we said that Group A – Spain, Portugal and Netherlands – was stronger, but both finalists come from our group. Serbia are a good team, difficult to break down. It will be a good final. Now we will work on recovering. Both teams have played extra time today and the medical staff are going to have to work very hard to help the players recover. The team which does that better will have a better chance in the final.

My experience [from winning the competition in 2010] helps us. This is [the coaching staff's] fourth semi-final – U17s [in 2008], U19 [in 2010] U20 World Cup [in 2011] and here – and we've been to three finals. The staff are certainly experienced and they can pass that onto the players, but that's not enough on its own. The players have to perform as well and I congratulate our team for what they've done tonight.

Luis de la Fuente, Spain coach
I'd like to congratulate France – it's a great achievement for them to reach the final of such an important competition. They're feeling very happy now and that's what we wanted for ourselves. We're very frustrated, we played a fantastic game and were the better team on the night, but football is like that. France took advantage of their chances, particularly on the counterattack. We were filled with hope and expectation of reaching the final, but it wasn't to be.

The difference was that France made the most of their dangerous situations. They're a great team, they had chances and scored them. We had more chances but didn't manage to find the net. In football, if you don't take your chances this is what happens. We made two small mistakes and they led to the chances from which France scored but, again, I think we deserved to win.

I congratulated my team – they've done some really great work during this tournament. We've fought from the first to the last minute of every game, improved gradually and got better. They're a very professional bunch and they play with a lot of pride, and for that I congratulate them. The only sad thing about tonight is that we're going home.