'This defeat feels like a victory'

published: Sunday, 30 July 2006, 13:46
Scotland coach Tommy Wilson and his Spanish counterpart Ginés Meléndez both paid tribute to a valiant effort by the losing finalists in Poland.

Scotland coach Tommy Wilson was keen to emphasise his immense pride in his players despite watching them lose 2-1 to Spain in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final in Poznan. Alberto Bueno's double earned the Spanish victory at the Stadion Miejski despite Graham Dorrans' late effort for the Scots but both Wilson and his Spanish counterpart Ginés Meléndez paid tribute to a valiant Scottish effort against a side who had defeated them 4-0 just nine days ago. For Spain's Gerard Piqué, meanwhile, there was the satisfaction of an old score being settled.

Tommy Wilson, Scotland coach
I'm extremely proud; their performance was outstanding considering we'd been turned over by the Spanish a week ago so to respond like that was very pleasing for us. We changed our tactics [from the first game]; we knew a little bit more about the Spanish game, we knew what we had to do to try to beat them this time and we got very close to that. We've exceeded expectations and when we get home, the reaction of the Scottish people will tell us how proud we should be of them. I hope the lads have learned what it takes to perform at this level, they've grown and done their country, clubs and families proud. That Spanish team is the best we've played in the two years I've been in this job, they are an outstanding team and to run them as close as that is incredible. I'm extremely proud of my players, they were absolutely magnificent; this feels like a victory. We've been here once and we want to be here again; we've had a taste of it now.

Ginés Meléndez, Spain coach
I want to congratulate Scotland, we had to work very, very hard to beat them so my special thanks and congratulations go to Tommy Wilson because I know how much he has done for this team. In the first half, we didn't manage to create many goalscoring opportunities but we controlled the ball and the match and had probably 60 per cent of possession. In the second half we had more space but we were faced with very good opponents who fought to the end and I wish them the best for the future. I like their team very much; I liked them before the tournament, during the tournament and most of all in the final, particularly the hard work they put in.

Gerard Piqué, Spain defender
I scored in the U17 final against France two years ago and we lost that, so I'm happy not to score today and to win the game! That defeat two years ago was extra motivation; you want to win this competition because you remember the feeling of loss and your motivation is fantastic. It's always special to win a tournament, you only get one chance at the U19s and every final you win you have to be very happy. You don't get a lot of chances to play in them and you have to enjoy every moment when you win one. Scotland made it really difficult for us but in the end I think we were better than them and the best team in this tournament.

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