Jarl Torske was grateful for having "jokers" on the bench after one of them, 16-year-old Caroline Hansen, came on to score the winner as Norway defeated Italy 3-2 to reach Saturday's final.
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Jarl Torske was grateful for having "jokers" alongside him on the bench after one of them, Caroline Hansen, sealed Norway's progress to the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship final with a 3-2 victory against hosts Italy – the "ultimate challenge".
Jarl Torske, Norway coach
As expected it was an extremely tight match that could have gone both ways. Italy have many good players but we knew that already – today they confirmed they fully deserved to be in the semi-finals. I told my players that playing Italy, in Italy in the semi-finals is as big as it gets; the ultimate challenge.
We played very well today, as we did in our previous two games, but Italy came back again and again. They showed great spirit and went close to making it 3-3 right before the end: they deserve credit for their performance.
[Guro] Reiten and Hansen are both very young but they are very talented. It's nice to have two jokers in the pack like them as they can come in and decide the game. This morning I told Hansen she would be the match-winner and she was.
We are prepared for an extremely tough game against Germany. It will be very difficult but the energy you get from winning games like today's can take you very far.
Corrado Corradini, Italy coach
It was a very entertaining game. I told my players they should not cry now because these defeats help to improve and develop them as players. Facing teams like Norway helps you to understand what European football is all about, what it takes to play at this level.
Before the game I feared Norway's physical strength and determination; I think they were key to their victory. The rain did not help us either, because my players are not as used to playing on heavy pitches as the Norwegians. I think our performance, our whole tournament even, was exceptional.
The biggest regret is that we conceded the third goal when we were at our best after a bad first half. Mistakes, bad luck, hitting the post, it's all part of football. I just think Norway were more ready than us; they deserved to win and I hope Torske will go all the way because he deserves it.