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What they said about the U21 finals draw

The coaches of the 11 visiting sides joined Polish Football Association president Zbigniew Boniek in giving their impression of the finals draw: see what they said.

Group A coaches (L to R): Marcin Dorna, Pavel Hapal, Håkan Ericson and Aidy Boothroyd
Group A coaches (L to R): Marcin Dorna, Pavel Hapal, Håkan Ericson and Aidy Boothroyd ©Sportsfile

The sides involved at the first 12-team UEFA European Under-21 Championship know what awaits them in Poland next June after today's draw in Krakow. See what the teams' representatives had to say.

Group A: Poland (hosts), Slovakia, Sweden (holders), England
Zbigniew Boniek, Polish Football Association president

Poland are in an extremely difficult group, but at the same time a very interesting one. We've got Sweden, the European champions; we've got England, who are always good at this level; and we have Slovakia with their ambitious plans. It won't be easy, but if you want to play in the European Championship and have any chance, you can't be afraid of anyone.

Pavel Hapal, Slovakia coach
We're calm. And we open the tournament against Poland, so we're very happy. Our success so far has been based on togetherness as a team, and I believe that's going to be the same in the finals. Poland lives for football, and that it's going to be a great competition.

Håkan Ericson, Sweden coach
It is tough to meet the host nation, but also very, very interesting. England are always tough. Slovakia were impressive in beating Turkey and Holland and they score a lot of goals, but we also have a lot of confidence. We have played 17 games with this team without losing, so we're looking forward to it.

Aidy Boothroyd, England
To play the current holders and the hosts, and an unknown quantity in Slovakia who have done really well to qualify, it will be a very difficult group for us. Against the hosts, the hardest thing is to win their respect and quieten the crowd.

Group B coaches (L to R) : Rui Jorge, Tomislav Sivić, Albert Celades and Blagoja Milevski
Group B coaches (L to R) : Rui Jorge, Tomislav Sivić, Albert Celades and Blagoja Milevski©Sportsfile

Group B: Portugal, Serbia, Spain, FYR Macedonia
Rui Jorge, Portugal coach
It's tough, as it should be at a major finals. Every team has worked very hard to be here and shown strength and quality to reach this stage. Spain will be tough. Serbia will be tough. Macedonia will certainly be tough too. We'll look to keep showing the quality that we displayed in qualifying.

Tomislav Sivić, Serbia coach
Portugal and Spain are always at the finals and are very strong. Spain have won this competition a lot. FYR Macedonia are a surprise package, but we respect all of them. We have won the U19 EURO and the U-20 World Cup, so we will do our best to try to make it a hat-trick.

Albert Celades, Spain coach
Portugal had a very good qualifying campaign. Serbia were in our group and got through the play-offs – they have a very good generation of players and are the U20 world champions. FYR Macedonia are the surprise package, but they knocked France out so they're a strong team. I don't think we can be classed as favourites because we didn't even win our group – we finished second behind Sweden. There's plenty of room for improvement.

Blagoja Milevski, FYR Macedonia coach
I think we have the quality to be good competition, and I hope we will play as well as we did during the qualifiers. Our dream has come true, and it's still alive. I'm sure that when we go to Poland we'll play some good football, and promote our federation and country in the best way possible.

Group C coaches (L to R): Stefan Kuntz, Vítězslav Lavička, Niels Frederiksen and Luigi Di Biagio
Group C coaches (L to R): Stefan Kuntz, Vítězslav Lavička, Niels Frederiksen and Luigi Di Biagio©Sportsfile

Group C: Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy

Stefan Kuntz, Germany coach
A draw is always full of fun surprises. There are many factors in a tournament: a good team spirit, that bit of luck at the right moment. We won all ten qualifiers but some of the other teams dominated their qualifying groups too. We are definitely in the circle of favourites. We will see how it turns out during the tournament.

Vítězslav Lavička, Czech Republic coach
We're happy to be here, and we'll try to put in the same team effort as we did during qualifying. In every single team in our group, there is quality, but we also have quality, and we've shown that during qualifying. Patrik Schick [was the top scorer in qualifying], but we have other good players, especially in attack.

Niels Frederiksen, Denmark coach
I don't think that there is one group that is weaker. We know Germany are a very very strong team and also Italy. We just played against them in Italy two weeks ago and drew. We have a chance, but it will be difficult. Our ambition will be to get to the semi-finals and then you don't know what will happen.

Luigi Di Biagio, Italy coach
We're happy. We've landed a group with a massive team in Germany and two teams I'd like to define as dark horses. Germany are very difficult opponents, but Italy are also a very dangerous side. We have the mentality and desire to be there right to the end.