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Janković salutes Serbia heart

Boško Janković conceded "it was not our day" after Serbia were swept aside by the Netherlands yet insists the runners-up are heading in the right direction.

Midfielder Boško Janković conceded "it was not our day" after Serbia were swept aside in the second half of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, eventually losing 4-1 to the Netherlands, yet he insists the side are going in the right direction.

'Great heart'
The 23-year-old has enjoyed an impressive fortnight, scoring a last-minute winner against the Czech Republic as Serbia booked their place in the last four with a Group B game to spare and providing guile to a vibrant attacking side. Yet after a slow start at the Euroborg, the team were never really able to recover from Otman Bakkal's 17th-minute opener. "It's a little hard to take as we lost today but the Netherlands played fantastic, really very well and we were a little weak," said Janković. "But all the Serbian players played with great heart."

'Twelfth man'
Serbia did have their chances. Aleksandar Kolarov hit the post when Dutch goalkeeper Boy Waterman misjudged his free-kick from the right and they started the second period firmly on the offensive, with the Netherlands back line stretched for the first time. "We had two or three 100 per cent chances and in the second half, with the score still 1-0, Dušan Basta had a good chance but could not score," RCD Mallorca midfielder Janković added. "The Dutch played really well after that though and their fans made it 12 players for the Netherlands today."

Growing strength
Maceo Rigters, Ryan Babel and Luigi Bruins completed the scoring for the hosts, with Dragan Mrdja scoring Serbia's consolation as the side lost the showpiece by a three-goal margin for the second time in three years having lost 3-0 to Italy in 2004. Yet Janković insists they are on the right path, saying: "It has been a big step for Serbia in the last three years. Last year we reached the semi-finals, in 2004 we were in the final and now we played in the final again. It is a big step for us."