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King hails 'fabulous' Ireland

Noel King was ecstatic as his Republic of Ireland side beat holders Germany to reach the Women's Under-17 final while counterpart Ralf Peter said his side were "asleep" for the first half in Nyon.

King hails 'fabulous' Ireland
King hails 'fabulous' Ireland ©uefa.com 1998-2012. All rights reserved.

Republic of Ireland manager Noel King hailed his "fabulous group of players" after watching them end the unbeaten run of Germany and progress to the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final with a sensational 1-0 win in Nyon.

King's team are the first Irish women's side to make the final of a European competition at any level. Megan Campbell struck the game's only goal just before the break with a brilliant free-kick and conceded that she had "never scored any goal like that before" as the Irish set up a decider against last year's runners-up Spain on Saturday. Ralf Peter pinpointed his side's "catastrophic first half" display as the reason for the loss as Germany lost their grip on the title.

Noel King, Republic of Ireland manager
I don't know if the girls knew as much about Germany as I did. They've won the game and they are a fabulous group of players. I know how incredible this feels, but I'm not sure that they do. This is amazing for Ireland to be in the final of a European championship.

I think people expect the ferocious commitment from us, but I don't think they expect the organisation and skill that we showed. Both attacking skill and defensive skill, because there were times when we went at Germany and pinned them back. I'm delighted for all of my players. They've made my day.

We have some very special players. We have set targets, but we haven't actually included being European champions as one of them. We have a couple of days to enjoy this now, and then we'll get back to work for the final.

Megan Campbell, Republic of Ireland goalscorer
There were only two minutes to go in the first half, so I looked at the clock and said why not have a go. I tried to take the chance and see what happens. I've never scored any goal like that before, and hopefully it won't be the last.

I can still not really believe this, still trying to get the head around it. It's a great result for us and we deserved to win this game. Hopefully we will win against Spain now.

Ralf Peter, Germany coach
We were asleep in the first half, and that gave them strength. The Irish played with a lot of heart and their victory was not undeserved. In the second half, we failed to convert the big chances we had to equalise. In summary, my team has played a poor match.

The goal was a great shot. In that phase we were almost asking them to score against us. We played very badly in defence, did not press and up front we could not hold the ball. We played a catastrophic first half, and we should not be surprised to lose.

The Irish were outsiders, but only on paper. We knew about their qualities since they beat Sweden, who are one of the best teams in Europe. On Saturday, we will play another final. Our objective for the season was to participate in the World Cup, and now we have to win this game, but this will require a different kind of performance.