Pointing to a failure to score as a key factor in Bulgaria's demise, 17-year-old forward Kiril Despodov has swiftly turned his attention to a place in the 2014 tournament.
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Having bowed out of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship with a third successive Group B defeat, disappointment in the Bulgaria squad was all too obvious – particularly as their second and third games, against Ukraine and Serbia respectively, were settled by last-gasp goals conceded. Kiril Despodov admitted he and his team-mates had learned some harsh lessons in Hungary, although the 17-year-old PFC Litex Lovech forward will have the chance to help Bulgaria return to the finals next year, and that is his focus now.
UEFA.com: How do you feel after a third loss?
Kiril Despodov: I am very disappointed.
UEFA.com: Was the biggest problem for Bulgaria failing to score a goal in all three matches?
Despodov: I feel responsible for that, since I played in attack in all of them. In the first game we didn't deserve to lose to Germany by such a margin. A 3-0 loss was too harsh, considering what was going on on the pitch. I think that the deciding moment came in our second match, against Ukraine, where we should have won, but lost dramatically in the dying moments. That was the turning point for us.
UEFA.com: But regardless of that, you were still in it up to the last minute on matchday three. You were pressing, you were attacking, especially from the 80th minute against Serbia?
Despodov: Yes, our goal was to get the three points, to win that game. That would have taken us into the [2015 FIFA U-20] World Cup. We chased victory, but ...
UEFA.com: What did you take from this whole tournament, what experience?
Despodov: I personally have learned that you have to play to the very end, to the final whistle.
UEFA.com: What is the next step for this generation of Bulgarian footballers?
Despodov: We have a new qualifying campaign starting this November and we will do our best to secure a place in the European Championship again – that's all there is to it.