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Skullerud 'proud' as Norway reach second semis

Tor Ole Skullerud was "proud" of Norway despite losing a late equaliser to miss out on top spot in Group A to an Italy team whose coach gave credit to "tough" opponents.

Skullerud 'proud' as Norway reach second semis
Skullerud 'proud' as Norway reach second semis ©UEFA.com

Tor Ole Skullerud, Norway coach
We have met the best team so far. Italy were very good, they have good skills and play with a good tempo. We had trouble in the first half getting the ball. It was a bit better after the break because we made some changes and looked better.

The two teams that play tomorrow [Spain and the Netherlands] are very strong. It will be difficult to pick one of them so we'll take whichever we get. We are very happy to have gone through without losing. We have played well in the group stage and we have a good squad. We have a year where we have a lot of players born in 1991, so lots to choose from. By Norwegian standards the level is high.

We have a lot of players based abroad which makes us strong, it gives us something more. We have lots of options in the squad as we showed with nine changes for tonight's game. The mentality in this group is excellent, they work together and they work for each other. We are a strong unit and I'm proud of that.

[To reach the semi-finals] means a lot for every player. They all contributed and that makes our group strong. Picking players for the semis will be a positive but difficult task. An extra day off will give us energy. I hope we can use that to look strong in the semis.

Devis Mangia, Italy coach
I have no doubts about the attitude of my players. I said a few days ago that I have 23 players who are valuable and tonight showed this is true. I played the team that I thought was best prepared physically and mentally for this game. It's a pity that our two other goalkeepers couldn't play, but I think that's a different role and it's hard to change your goalkeeper.

It was difficult to break Norway down because they are a tough team. If we had lost it would have been a great pity because I don't think we deserved to lose. We persisted until we scored which was what we also did in the warm-up matches. We went through five matches and 89 minutes without conceding. We have a good record.

We have to earn [a place in the final] with our performance. In the semi-finals we have to play the right way and deserve a place in the final. All the players gave their maximum on the pitch and I was satisfied with the display. It has given me some selection dilemmas for the next game.

Spain are a great team who won it last time. We played them in November, which was a long time ago but they put us in some difficult situations. However, we caused them problems too.