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Korpela, Kukkonen hail Finland's resolve

Goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela paid tribute to Finland's steely determination, while Italy's Melania Gabbiadini felt her team's "superior" showing deserved more than a point.

Finland goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela mingles with her team-mates after a hard-fought draw
Finland goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela mingles with her team-mates after a hard-fought draw ©AFP/Getty Images

Finland goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela cut a modest figure when she told UEFA.com that it was simply "her job to make saves" after helping hold Italy to a goalless draw in their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group A opener. Andrée Jeglertz's team spent long periods of the game pinned in their own half but drew praise from midfield schemer Annika Kukkonen – who savoured a "special" occasion in Halmstad – for an impeccable defensive performance.

Meanwhile, Italy forward Melania Gabbiadini argued that the Azzurre's dashing display deserved greater reward, before insisting that they can make amends against Denmark on Saturday, so long as they stay true to their attacking principles.

Melania Gabbiadini, Italy forward 
We really should have won this game because we played well and were superior to Finland. All we lacked was a goal so this draw is a bit harsh on us. The final ball was lacking, and a goal, because overall we did all of the running and we're really disappointed about this draw. We still have another two games, but winning this game would have been important.

We still have those two games and we'll try to win them because we want to qualify. It will be a tough game because Denmark are a good team, but if we play the way we played today, with the ball on the ground and playing the football we know how to play, then certainly we'll cause them problems.

Alessia Tuttino, Italy midfielder
It was a positive performance in terms of the way we played and all we lacked in the final third was a bit of luck. We take things game by game and although we wanted to win and tried to the very end, it was not our night. But absolutely nothing is compromised; we are here to win and we'll try to win every game we play, regardless of whether we're playing Finland, Denmark, Sweden or whoever.

If we play like Italy, like we know how, then I think we can cause anybody problems. We are not a side that just sits back so we'll give it our all and look to win it. The coach is happy; it's a shame about the result. Now we'll let the adrenaline cool down a bit and then, slowly but surely, tomorrow we'll talk about it in a calm manner.

Tinja-Riikka Korpela, Finland goalkeeper 
We are satisfied with the result against a good Italy team, so now we must look forward. It's nice to be in the thick of the action, but it's my job to make saves. The backing of the Finland supporters helped a lot. We knew before the game that a lot of our friends and families would be here, so it was a special feeling to play and it will be an even better atmosphere against Sweden, I'm sure. At half-time, the coach told us to be braver and have more courage on the ball. Our defence was very good but with the ball we lacked sharpness.

Annika Kukkonen, Finland midfielder
It's good to start with one point and keep a clean sheet. It was a little bit difficult; they are really good and have lots of fast players, so it was a hard job but we managed quite well. Sweden is a huge game and it will be a great battle against those guys, but we are really pleased with the one point but looking for more against Sweden. One of our greatest strengths is our defence, so we should be happy with our performance.

The first half of any tournament is always difficult, but we needed to keep the ball more and have more patience. Of course it was a special day; everyone has been waiting for this for two years. It was awesome to have so many of our friends and families in Sweden. We know a lot about Sweden; we have many players playing over there and our coach is Swedish, so we are really looking forward to that game. 

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