Spain coach Jorge Vilda hailed "a beautiful tournament" after his side clinched third place with a victory over Belgium whose coach bowed out "very proud" of her team.
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Spain coach Jorge Vilda hailed "a beautiful tournament" after his side secured third spot in the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championshi[pwith a 4-0 victory over Belgium, while forward Nahikari García expressed her delight at picking up a medal. Meanwhile, Joelle Piron was "very proud" of her Belgium team, who realised a dream just by reaching the final tournament, according to forward Valentine Hannecart.
Jorge Vilda, Spain coach
We got rid of the frustration from the other day [the penalty shoot-out defeat against Sweden]. I'm very proud and happy with the way the team played. We showed we deserved to be in the final with this result and the way we played.
Normally when you play well, you win. What happened in the semi-final is that we played well but the ball didn't want to go in. All the players played, at least for a bit, so that's great for their development. We have to give credit to UEFA. Every time there's a tournament here the organisation is perfect, the facilities great. From the hotels to the pitches, it's all in perfect condition. So we have to thank them, and that's also why this was a beautiful tournament.
Nahikari García, Spain forward
In the end claiming third place makes us proud. In the long run we'll be even more aware that it's very much a prize. We couldn't be in the final, but we fought, and we showed that we could make it. It wasn't to be, but third place is very good.
It was a spectacular, a beautiful semi-final, by both teams. We played a passing game, we had a lot of shots on goal, and they only had three so that says a lot about our control of the game. In the end we're all a team. I scored the goal because I was closest to the goal, but we've seen several players scoring goals in this championship and that says a lot about our hunger in front of goal.
We have the same philosophy that the boys have, and the senior women’s team as well. We are shown this way of playing and that’s what we want to demonstrate on the pitch.
Joëlle Piron, Belgium coach
We were already very proud of getting here in the first place, but just like every other coach and group of players we were not only here to participate but to win it. We have some regrets from the game against Poland but today we have to admit that our opponents were stronger, and we couldn't do anything.
If we keep working hard with these players we can achieve some good results in the coming years. Technically Spain have no equals, [they are] very mobile, they play one touch football and constantly move their opponents out of position. Of the four teams Spain play the best football.
We can take a lot away [from this tournament], first of all we have seen the things we need to work on, especially today against Spain, such as our technical skills and our pace. Against Poland we saw that we still need to improve on the physical side. The players have learned to manage pressure and to deal with a media presence. This was the first time they have drawn so much attention. The contact with the other teams, with other football styles, has been very important for their learning process, on and off the pitch.
We would have wished to achieve better results, but I think we must accept these defeats and focus now on what we still need to work on. I would like to add that this will be the last tournament for me.
Valentine Hannecart, Belgium midfielder
It is great, there were 40 teams at the start, and we are in the top four. Every girl dreams about finishing first, but we received a medal, and this is a dream come true because when they put it around our necks the emotions were released, tears came up. We realised that we were in the top four teams. We fought hard to get here, and it is really fantastic.
We tried to fight today, but unfortunately we were playing against Spain, and they were stronger than us. Spain are stronger than Belgium but it was a dream to be able to come on the pitch.
Lola Wajnblum, Belgium forward
We are disappointed after another defeat, but this one is understandable. Spain are much more experienced, they have won the European Championship twice already. [It was important] to be here and to participate in these two games, even if we lost them. It will make us grow and develop. I am sure that next year we will do a lot better.