England manager Stuart Pearce was satisfied with a tactical approach that paid off as his side defeated Spain to secure a semi-final place, saying: "We kept doing what we're good at all game."
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England manager Stuart Pearce was satisfied with a tactical plan that paid off as second-half goals from Fraizer Campbell and James Milner – who had missed a 32nd-minute penalty – secured victory against Spain and a place in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-finals with one Group B game to spare. Pearce's opposite number Juan Ramón López Caro – whose side must now beat Finland in their final fixture to have any chance of progressing – pointed to profligacy and errors as the decisive factor in his side's downfall.
Stuart Pearce, England manager
I must give credit to Spain, they played very well and technically they're a good side. We have a game plan we kept to; we were disappointed that we didn't go in at half-time with the penalty in the back of the net. The players have a strong determination among themselves to want to be successful this summer. We kept doing what we're good at all game and we were stronger in the second half – I thought beforehand that would be the case and credit to the players for that.
[This tournament] is a million miles away from being a success. We've got a game on Monday night I'm desperate to win; every time England come up against Germany there's always got to be a lot on it. It's a group match of a major championship and a learning curve for the players in that respect. We know now at this stage we've got at least one more game. I'll be at Italy-Sweden tomorrow, my other staff will be at the other game and we know we've got to improve to get through the semi-final, the dressing room are aware of it. When you're involved in these tournaments, if you take your foot of the gas for one moment, it's fatal. You never pick the tempo up again. I've seen it many times before and it won't happen here.
Juan Ramón López Caro, Spain coach
We started well, we had some chances but unfortunately we couldn't take them. Then we made too many mistakes and England took advantage of them. We just did not take our chances, we made too many mistakes in defence. If you look at the game England were not that superior – they just scored twice. The team has worked hard, I have to thank them for their efforts on the pitch but congratulations to England – they've qualified for the semi-finals because they deserved to.
We played better [than in the first match] apart from the mistakes we made, but we lacked determination when we had chances. Teams like Germany and England have a very good defence but all three of the teams are of a similar level and in these types of matches little details make all the difference. I'm sure my players will show the right attitude against Finland; we're defending the colours of Spain so I'm sure my players will go for the win.