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Ekroth lauds Sweden 'hero' Holmgren

Sweden's Yvonne Ekroth praised 'hero' goalkeeper Emma Holmgren after her team reached the final courtesy of a 5-4 victory on penalties against two-time champions Spain.

Sweden celebrate after Jennifer Karlsson (right) made it 2-1 after 62 minutes
Sweden celebrate after Jennifer Karlsson (right) made it 2-1 after 62 minutes ©Sportsfile

Sweden coach Yvonne Ekroth praised goalkeeper Emma Holmgren after she scored the winning penalty to send her country into their maiden UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final, while opposite number Jorge Vilda bemoaned his side's luck in a match which finished 2-2 after 80  minutes.

Yvonne Ekroth, Sweden coach
The goalkeeper? Yes, she's a good one. I know she's good, she usually takes them at her club, but she had a sore leg because she took a lot of [goal] kicks. But she is an amazing character, so I thought, 'well, Emma, take it, you have a really good chance to be a hero'. And she is – among the other ones. We have two days [until the final against Poland], so we're going to manage. We will try our best. Like I say to the players, we always do the best we can and when you're over that white line you're a better football player and you should be proud of what you have done and your country.

Jonna Andersson, Sweden midfielder
It was a very tough game. Spain were the favourites, but we prepared for how to play and we knew it would be even – that's why we practised penalties a lot. So we were well-prepared and it was very exciting in the end in the penalty shoot-out, because it was so even, but it was great fun. It is wonderful. It is a dream the entire team has and that I have myself. To return to Sweden with a gold medal would be a dream.

Jorge Vilda, Spain coach
In the end we had the chance, so everyone is sad. It's normal to feel like that, but tomorrow will be better. I'm happy with what the team did, everyone, the ones who played and the ones who didn't. We dominated the game and showed how Spain can play; we weren't lucky in front of goal. We had a lot more chances than them, but that's football. In recent years with the U19s and U17s we've been playing at finals and it's clear that we've been playing among the best teams in Europe, the last four in this case, and we left France behind us in the second qualifying round. The team has been sensational and now we'll prepare for the third-place match.

Nuria Garrote, Spain
The truth is that penalties involve a bit of luck. You have to take them in a secure way and Sweden were lucky to miss only one, where we missed two. But I am proud of this team; we've done very well. I wish Sweden luck, they're a great team – they are the best team and squad in the world.