'The longest 24 hours of my life'

England penalty taker Leah Williamson described it as "the longest 24 hours of my life". We round up the reaction from some of the WU19 finals qualifiers.

Leah Williamson faced an anxious wait to take her penalty against Norway
Leah Williamson faced an anxious wait to take her penalty against Norway ©Getty Images

England midfielder Leah Williamson cut a relieved figure after converting her penalty against Norway on Thursday.

Williamson had to retake her spot kick after the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body decided the elite round qualifying game – which originally took place on 4 April – should be replayed from when England were awarded the penalty in added time. She made no mistake, ensuring Mo Marley's side – as well as Norway, as best runners-up – made it through to the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship from Group 4.

Leah Williamson, England midfielder
They were the longest 24 hours of my life, I hadn't slept. I think I was just excited, I went through so many emotions. We had a conversation just before I came out which was quite emotional. We have been through a bigger journey than some people go through in their whole careers because of what happened – it was never about me, it was about the team.

Getting to Israel is a great boost for the team. I suppose individually, I have learnt most about how to deal with pressure and how to deal with my emotions. That is what I will take from this week. I've just turned 18 and it's been the fastest learning curve to being an adult imaginable. I didn't know I had it in me.

We have really connected as a team. We have been through the highest high and the lowest low together over the past ten days.

England coach Mo Marley
England coach Mo Marley©Getty Images

Mo Marley, England head coach
Obviously it has been a long couple of days, the tournament has been tough in general. We are happy everything has turned out the way we wanted, for Norway as well. I know how hard these players have worked. Credit to all of the other teams, and credit to Norway for their professionalism.

It's ironic because a lot of the hard work we did at the start of the week was about a long journey with challenges, and that is the same as any young footballer's career, but the events and circumstances of the last couple of days really tested that.

Reaction from other qualifiers …

Gilles Eyquem, France coach
It's a great achievement by a great group of girls. It's a good story and let's hope we can maintain this spirit through to the finals. This shows the quality of French youth training and development. It is great news for French football.

Calle Barrling, Sweden coach
Before Italy took the lead [on matchday three] we had two clear chances, but we did not get dejected after their goal. We were determined to win so we stuck to our game plan. We overpowered Italy, as we did all our opponents in the elite round. We definitely deserve this as we were the best team in the group.

Maren Meinert, Germany coach
It was our ambition to win all three matches and we managed to do it, so I am very satisfied with the outcome. Obviously there are some aspects we will have to work on in order to improve, but our defence was very solid once again.

Mariona Caldentey, Spain midfielder
We just kept on improving. We are a very united team – it is not just that we have great players but that we are a great group. That is very important because what we do on the pitch is what we feel away from it. This team have been together for a long time and I think that shows on the pitch. We are now very excited about doing well in the tournament. We hope it will be a good one for us.

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