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Sbardella hails Italian character

Italy coach Enrico Sbardella reserved special praise for his team's character after they dug deep to edge hosts England 1-0, with counterpart Lois Fidler staying positive in defeat.

Sbardella hails Italian character
Sbardella hails Italian character ©UEFA.com

Lois Fidler, England manager
I was pleased with the players' character and work rate as well as their 'bouncebackability'. To concede so late when you've had large portions of the game is disappointing but it's part of the process. We've spoken to the players about the importance of a good work ethic in attack and defence. For the majority of the game they delivered on that so I'm really pleased with the performance today.

The tournament won't be defined by this result. We've always grown as a tournament has gone on, as the players have got used to their surroundings and the coaching staff. They will watch the game back and review it, so we tend to grow and evolve as the tournament goes on. It's about putting that game to bed, fine-tuning a few bits and pieces and coming back 20% stronger for the game against Austria. There's still everything to play for.

You would be foolish to underestimate any Italian side. They've got pace, flair and some good technical players so we knew what to expect. We were well organised and they found it hard to break us down. The players delivered what we asked them to try and do but my compliments and congratulations must go to the Italians. They had the best of the first-half chances but a draw would have been a fair result. 

Enrico Sbardella, Italy coach
We've faced England many times over the years in qualifiers and it's always a pleasure, especially to play at a venue like this. It was tough because the players found it difficult to hear messages from the bench, yet we're delighted because we want this so much and deserve to be here. We knew it was going to be a great experience for the players. These memories will stay with them forever.

Now we'll relax and recuperate because we have an even more important game against Portugal, since our one and only defeat since the beginning of qualifying came against them. It's a game that means a great deal to us because it's a chance to seal our place in the semi-finals and take our revenge.

We made a lot of mistakes today but overall we did really well. We responded to the pressure of the situation and the atmosphere. We could have gone in front after ten minutes but our finishing wasn't up to scratch. We gifted their strikers two chances and that's something we need to cut out. We're going to work on it over the next two days. Saying that, the girls showed great character today.