Kochi: Spain coach Santi Denia on Sunday praised his players for producing a near-perfect performance in their 3-1 win over Iran to enter the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Kochi.
"I believe we did the job almost perfectly (that) we needed with the team like Iran. Of course it was very important for us to qualify for the semi-finals," Denia said at the post match press conference.
"We knew it was important to begin the match very well. We had chances to score the second goal in the first half. And in the second half we knew you have to move forward in the field to give us more to attack them," he added.
Asked about his strategy for the semi-final match against Mali in Navi Mumbai on 25 October, he said, "We work to have ball possession most of the time. We move the ball forward, that is the idea I want to think for any match."
"Of course, there is room for improvement. We are still conceding goals. We have to improve. From tonight onwards we will start to work for the next game."
He said he would know about the injury status of Sergio Gomez – who scored one goal against Iran – on Monday.
Iran coach Abbas Chamanyan conceded that Spain deserved to win as they were the better side.
"I must congratulate Spain for qualifying for the semi-finals. I am so happy that we played five games here in the World Cup. It was a good opportunity for our players and staff. We are here to learn a lot about World Cup football. It will help us in the future," he said.
Talking about today's match, Chamanyan said, "We did not start quick and well. We were not in good attacking position in the first 20 minutes of the game," he said.
"Unfortunately we conceded goals. We must not forget that Spain is an excellent and high quality team. Our players showed all the quality until the end of the game of 90 minutes."
Asked if his team was too defensive to start the game, he said, "We did not have a quick start in the first half. Our players are still young. In the second half they played hard. Our big problem today was the coordination between the defenders and the attackers.
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Updated Date: Oct 22, 2017 23:03:35 IST