[May 05]

2009 UEFA European Under-17 Championship是我們可以直接觀看所謂的"未來之星"表現並綻放光芒的最佳時機!

在今年度以前,有許多你曾聽過大名鼎鼎的且現正處巔峰期的球員中,多半從U-16﹝U-17前身﹞便展現出自己的實力,像是Iker Casillas、Clemens Fritz、Thierry Henry、Luís Figo、Wayne Rooney、Cristiano Ronaldo、Cesc Fàbregas、Theo Walcott、Bojan Krkić,甚至是去年的年輕新星Batuhan Karadeniz以及Danijel Aleksić 都已開始參與成人國家隊賽事,U-17比賽是一個能讓人看到未來的、可能會成為下一世代最傑出的球員機會之舞臺。


[May 04]

身為德國控的我0rz...當然是要連對手的資料都看一下下啊~是說我一看到Terim的名字後眼睛就一亮!!B組的話...我不希望四搶三的名額中剩下的是土耳其=3=不希望看到英格蘭球員出現在奈及利亞!!=皿=!且土德雙方球員有很多都混有對方血統的@@只是我沒詳細去看資料,其實看現在國家隊成人級別的就看得出土耳其與德國兩個國家的關係真的是很微妙啊~很多現役德國國腳都有土耳其血統的,嚴格來說他們基本上都是生於德國的土耳其人。

Ercan tasked with Terim's U17 plan

Monday 4 May 2009 / by Türker Tozar from Istanbul

A year ago Turkey reached the UEFA European Under-17 Championship semi-finals on home soil; having qualified again this season they begin their campaign on 6 May with what will be a well-attended match against hosts Germany in Erfurt. Former Turkey left-back Abdullah Ercan, a 2002 FIFA World Cup bronze-medallist, took over the U17 team ahead of their successful Elite round campaign in March and told uefa.com about the challenges he has faced, and indeed the team will face in the group stage against the hosts, England and the Netherlands.

uefa.com: You were appointed after Turkey qualified for the Elite Round. Did you revamp the squad or change the tactics?

Abdullah Ercan:
Turkey coach Fatih Terim requested administrative change to be carried out in order to create a consistent playing style for all the national teams from U15 to seniors. Turkey assistant coach Metin Tekin became the technical director of the U15, U16 and U17 national teams so that there is increased communication between youth sides and the senior side. First thing we did after my appointment was to settle a playing system by using the tactics of the senior team such as 4-3-3, 4-1-4-1 and sometimes 4-5-1. Essentially making midfield and attacking modifications without changing the defensive lineup.

uefa.com: Turkey won the Winter Tournament in Israel, finished second at the La Manga tournament and finally won their Elite Round group. Does that mean you were able to communicate your philosophy to the squad?

Ercan:
We were only able to reach the 30 per cent of our targets. It was not easy to do that because they had been playing with a different formation over the last two years. They improved their passing and positioning. However, now we need to focus on finishing touches where we have the biggest problem.

uefa.com: Turkey had to beat Finland in their last qualifier to reach the finals. What made the job so hard for your team?

Ercan:
The Elite round is quite stressful because only the group winners can advance to the finals. That makes players nervous during games. That's what happened to us. Secondly, dramatic changes can happen to the performances of young players related to puberty, their family or girlfriend problems. Lastly, if our matches are analysed, we had many chances to score. Against Romania we hit the bar three times and missed five clear opportunities in the last five minutes against Wales. Our final match against Finland could have ended with a score like 7-0. It was all about the finishing.

uefa.com: What do you like most about your team?

Ercan:
We are on a nine-game unbeaten run: Five wins and four draws. One of the most important attributes of our team is we never surrender. If we concede, we react immediately. That very important. There is a good friendship within the side too.

uefa.com: How do you see your chances in the finals?

Ercan:
I totally believe our players will be more comfortable in Germany. Now that they are among the final eight teams, they will have more confidence. Six or seven of our squad are based in Germany so they are used to the environment and climate which is another plus. I have faith in the quality of my players. Speaking about our opponents, they all play similarly to their senior sides. This team hasn't played our [group] opponents except for the Netherlands. England have always been physically strong but we don't know much about Germany. We attach special importance to opening matches. Our first game will be against the hosts and we expect a lot of Turkish supporters. The first target is to win the opener, then claim a top-four finish and finally to win the tournament. We also aim to reach the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria [by finishing in the top three in their group].

©uefa.com 1998-2009. All rights reserved.

[May 01]

一些關於對手的動向,大名單以及重點球員@@上面是B組四位教練Mario Pezzaiuoli(德), Abdullah Ercan(土), Albert Stuivenberg(荷) , John Peacock(英)

"Yenilgiyi kabullenmeyenler" finallerde」土耳其隊十八人大名單~

1 Deniz Mehmet (West Ham United),2 Okan Alkan (Fenerbahçe),3 Nurettin Kayaoğlu (FC Schalke 04), 4 Oğulcan Gökçe (Altay),5 Furkan Şeker (Beşiktaş A.Ş.),6 Ohran Gülle (Beşiktaş A.Ş.),7 Berkin Arslan  (Galatasaray A.Ş.),8 Deniz Herber (St. Pauli),9 Muhammet Demir (Bursaspor),10 Gökhan Töre (Chelsea), 11 Hasan Ahmet Sari (Trabzonspor A.Ş.),12 Sercan Hacioğlu (Beşiktaş A.Ş.),13 Barış Yardımcı (Fenerbahçe),14 Engin Bekdemir  (PSV Eindhoven),15 Sezer Özmen (Beşiktaş A.Ş.),16 Ömer Ali Şahiner (Konya Şekerspor),17 Onur Karakabak (Sakaryaspor A.Ş.),18 Kamil Ahmet Cörekçi  (Millvall FC)


Onder 17: namen, cijfers & feiten」荷蘭隊大名單,雖然我知道荷蘭文是英文與德文的綜合體,但還是很苦手啊lol

1 Patrick ter Mate (Vitesse/AGOVV) , 2 Ruben Ligeon (Ajax) , 3 Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord) , 4 Dico Koppers (Ajax) , 5 Martijn De Vries (Excelsior R.) , 6 Jerry van Ewijk  (Vitesse/AGOVV) , 7 Shabir Isoufi (Feyenoord) , 8 Osama Rashid (Feyenoord) , 9 Luc Castaignos (Feyenoord) , 10 Oguzhan Özyakup (Arsenal) , 11 Nygel Velder (Feyenoord),12 Jöel Veltman Ajax) , 13 Rangelo Janga (Excelsior R.) , 14 Mohamed Madmar (AZ) , 15 Bob Schepers (sc Cambuur Leeuwarden) , 16 Warner Hahn (Ajax) , 17 Mats van Huijgevoort (Feyenoord) , 18 Ryan Bouwmeester (Feyenoord)

英格蘭的話自己看FA.com,我只知道有Jose Baxter!因我在去年八月時就聽聞並看過他首場英超亮相!

[Sun Aug 17 00:09:31 2008]
Jose Baxter上場後,原本停滯不前的局勢有所改變!!他真的很讚!又是一隻初生之犢不怕虎的鐵例:他上場真的讓我想到上一季西漢姆那位Sears!不過Baxter真的很可惜,沒像Sears在英超亮相第一場比賽就進球....

#37 Jose Baxter
Born:7/02/1992 in Bootle, Liverpool / Position: Forward


Jose Baxter has been at Everton since he was just 6 years old!
Born in Liverpool in February 1992, he joined the Everton first-team squad that toured Switzerland and America during the pre-season…just two months after leaving school!A player of immense natural talent he can perform in midfield or attack and has represented England at every age group up to Under-17s.He scored his first goal for the senior team when he equalized at Nottingham Forest in a friendly match in July 2008.

另,UEFA.com有在本日刊出對英格蘭U-17教練Peacock的訪問

Peacock ponders England expectations

Friday 1 May 2009 / by Paul Saffer

On Wednesday John Peacock will lead England in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals for the fifth time in seven years. They were runners-up two years ago, and having qualified from a group containing Serbia, Portugal and Hungary with a game to spare, this season's squad are in position to do well again even though they are up against the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey in a tough pool. Peacock spoke to uefa.com about England's chances of success.

uefa.com: Did you expect to qualify with a game to spare?

John Peacock:
If you had said before that we would ever have got to that situation I would never have believed you. I think without doubt it was one of the toughest groups of the seven. I'm pleased to have come out of the group unscathed with nine points but it was a really difficult one to come out of.

uefa.com: Can you reach the final again?

Peacock:
We'll be delighted if we did go that far. But I'm looking at the eight teams in the tournament and I think any one of these eight could potentially win it, no doubt about that. It's probably the strongest since I've been involved with the FA, about seven years, and I just think we're glad to be here in a [FIFA U-17] World Cup year, with the mindset of trying to get to the semi-finals at least and go from there.

uefa.com: What do you know about your group opponents?

Peacock:
Very little, if I'm honest. If you look at the other group, we've played Italy, Spain and France this year so we know a lot more about Group A than Group B. We'll do our homework, just as they'll do against us.

uefa.com: How do you rate this year's squad?

Peacock:
There is definitely potential in the group. We've had a couple of defeats against Portugal, lost to France as well, it's been a big of a roller-coaster year to be honest but everything was always focused toward the Elite round, having got through a relatively difficult qualifying round group with Spain. All our attention was geared on getting the squad right for the Elite round. I think we did a good selection there, the lads were completely focused on that event. If we do the same again, who knows? There are some talented players but we have to focus as a team as well.

uefa.com: There should be some big crowds in the finals, especially when you play Germany on 9 May ...

Peacock:
If you can get lots of people there in the European Championship finals, it is a great occasion for the lads and something they'll look back on in their career in years to come and say it was great to be part of it. I hope it's a successful one but I hope they get a lot out of it from a personal development point of view, and I'm sure they will.

uefa.com: Several players you have taken to U17 finals have quickly made their name on the senior stage, what benefits does this tournament bring?

Peacock:
Getting them into world and European finals is crucial, that experience can only stand them in good stead in their long careers. To see the likes of [Daniel] Welbeck, and Theo Walcott who was in Italy in '05, without any doubt it is fantastic experience for them and it just goes to show that it is a foot on the ladder and hopefully we can keep climbing that ladder.

©uefa.com 1998-2009. All rights reserved.


[Apr.27]

從pixnet的介面變新了之後,我一直很少寫這一類連續報導文﹝從去年奧運後,Pixnet就變得沒像先前那麼好用...﹞,圖片貼了置中格式都會跑掉,到現在還是改不了,怨誰?我只要求個斷行是br而不是它馬的p而已,這都辦不到了我還指望個鬼。

但 這遲早都要寫,因為我發現兩年前在UEFA那邊的U-17資料已經不見很多了,有鑒於此我想了下還是當作是備份文備份下來好了,再加上今年歐少賽又是在德 國辦!其實我也想早點寫U-17的筆記,但是...反正我也不知道啦,莫名其妙地忙碌或是懶惰到不想寫,且重要資料我都丟在批踢踢萬或批兔個版,這邊寫文 又很不方便XD我想,這屆德國U-17的陣容是比上一屆世青賽﹝2007﹞時還要好很多很多,雖然上一屆也是有許多不錯的球員,像是我們家的小三八Tony Jantschke、現被租借到小拜的拜仁球員Toni Kroos、Sebastian Rudy、Richard Sukuta-Pasu und Dennis Dowidat等人,從07年歐少賽Patrick Funk還是U-17隊長到世少賽Toni Kroos當隊長,最後在半準決賽敗給了奈及利亞,到現在都已經過了兩年了...

時間真的過得好快喔,那個兩年前看起來很稚嫩的Funk也變成大帥哥了、在半準決賽哭得很慘的Rudy也在司圖加特一隊陣容中,還有那個曾在英超Bolton青年隊中的Kevin Wolze,現在回德甲加入了狼堡Wolfsburg!那一年有人說那一批球員真正能成大器的或許也沒幾個,但只要不要消失,我想機會總是有的:只是這些全都決定於球員本身啊。

2009 UEFA European Under-17 Championship

於德國舉辦的UEFA U-17決賽階段已在今日﹝Apr.03﹞下午抽完籤分完組,主辦國為德國,處於B組,同組對手還有土耳其、英格蘭以及荷蘭;A組則是西班牙、義大利、法國以及瑞士在同一組。

2009 UEFA European Under-17 Championship draw
Group A
(Dessau-Rosslau, Makranstadt, Grimma, Torgua, Sandersdorf, Taucha)
Group B
(Gera, Erfurt, Meuselwitz, Jena, Gotha)

Spain (holders) Germany (hosts)
Italy Turkey
France
England
Switzerland Netherlands

©uefa.com 1998-2009. All rights reserved.

比賽日期於五月六日至十八日,而決賽階段小組賽於五月十二日結束,五月十五日為半準決賽,決賽日為五月十八日。只要不是A、B組最後一名,歐洲區有 六個席次可以去參與2009奈及利亞世少賽。而這次在德國舉辦的決賽階段賽事共使用十三座球場、跨越三個德國境內三個聯邦州:Saxony、 Thuringia、Saxony-Anhalt,都是前東德屬地。Magdeburg的Stadion Magdeburg為決賽場地;在Dessau-RosslauPaul-Greifzu-Stadion與座落Grimma的Stadion der Freundschaft為半準決賽場地。

以下是德國U-17歐少賽之十八人大名單,我手邊原本還有另一份集訓名單的,但備份得太晚只剩下名字知道但就沒辦法直接連到DFB網頁兼表格去了...

Trikot Name Geburtstag Verein Spiele Tore
Tor
12 04.03.1992 VfB Stuttgart 4 -
1 30.04.1992 Borussia M'gladbach 11 -
Abwehr
2 02.01.1992 1. FC Köln 12 -
4 10.10.1992 Hamburger SV 6 -
5 17.04.1992 Hamburger SV 11 3
6 13.04.1992 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 8 -
3 26.01.1992 1. FC Nürnberg 11 -
Mittelfeld
7 25.04.1992 FC Liverpool 5 1
10 03.06.1992 Borussia Dortmund 6 1
17 07.03.1992 VfB Stuttgart 5 1
14 24.02.1992 Borussia M'gladbach 13 -
13 04.02.1992 Bayer Leverkusen 9 1
19 11.03.1992 Werder Bremen 14 4
8 10.02.1992 1. FC Köln 12 -
18 16.06.1992 Karlsruher SC 12 -
Angriff
11 21.12.1992 Hertha BSC Berlin 7 -
20 13.03.1992 VfL Wolfsburg 4 2
9 25.02.1992 Werder Bremen 13 6
       © DFB 06.05.2009
   

在四月二十九日遞交名單以前德國U-17集訓名單中有三十位球員,所以上面這一份是打掉十二位球員後的結果:

Elias Kachunga (Borussia M'gladbach) , Felix Klaus (SpVgg Greuther Fürth) , Christopher-Massamba Mandiangu (Borussia M'gladbach), Willi Evseev (Hannover 96) , Julian Korb (Borussia M'gladbach) , Mark Leinau (Hertha BSC Berlin) , Alexander Merkel (AC Mailand) , Maximilian Zimmer (Hertha BSC Berlin) , Patrick Bauer (VfB Stuttgart) , Tommy Grupe (FC Hansa Rostock) ,  Daniel von der Bracke (Bayer 04 Leverkusen) , Sebastian Vogl (Eintracht Frankfurt)

這十二位球員雖說最後沒進到名單中,但說不定在世少賽還會有機會亮相:D

以下是十八人大名單中各個球員簡介「18 Toptalente für Deutschland」下面這一位為Marco Pezzaiuoli,本屆德國U-17教練,他將帶領這群1992年出生的球員們一直到青年層級的最高賽事﹝Maybe U-23?﹞,在德國國家青訓中,是以球員年次來決定帶這群球員的教練,而不是單一青年層級就會換一個教練~_~唉呦,就是教練會跟著球員們從U-17、U-18一直升到U-21更甚是U-23,而我要說!!這一屆U-17正好在2012年時會參與U-21歐青賽,所以他們也很有可能參與奧運:D

目前各個青年級別的教練我也提一下,U-15與U-17教練為Marco Pezzaiuoli、U-16為Stefan Böger、U-18為Frank Engel、U-19為Heiko Herrlich,他也是前年帶1990年出生的U-17德國隊殺進世少賽半準決賽的教練,反正他現在帶得U-19也是當年的U-17球員啦XD他很熟~而U-20/21的Horst Hrubesch則是在去年帶德國U-19獲得歐青賽冠軍[睽違十四年的青年級別冠軍啊TAT] 後,今年將要前往埃及參與世青賽!!!

Nach einer intensiven Vorbereitung startet Marco Pezzaiuoli mit der U 17-Nationalmannschaft am Mittwoch in die Europameisterschaft in Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt und Thüringen - und hat dafür am Dienstag sein 18-köpfiges Aufgebot bekannt gegeben.

Zum Auftakt der Heim-EM spielen die DFB-Junioren ab 18.15 Uhr (live bei Eurosport) in Erfurt gegen die Türkei. Im weiteren Verlauf folgen am Samstag ab 14 Uhr (live bei Eurosport) in Jena das Duell mit England und am Dienstag, 12. Mai, an selber Stelle ab 17.45 Uhr (live bei Eurosport) die Partie gegen die Niederlande. Das Endspiel findet am Montag, 18. Mai, ab 11 Uhr (live bei Eurosport) in Magdeburg statt.

Da die DFB-Junioren meist nur Kennern de
s Nachwuchsfußballs in Deutschland bekannt sind, stellt DFB-Trainer Marco Pezzaiuoli exklusiv für DFB.de seine 18 Talente vor, die den EM-Titel holen sollen:

Bernd Leno (Tor, VfB Stuttgart)
Bernd ist ein ruhiger, besonnener Torhüter. Er hat eine gute Ausstrahlung und bewahrt die Ruhe. Im Eins-gegen-Eins hat er besondere Stärken und ist auch fußballspezifisch sehr gut ausgebildet.

Marc-André ter Stegen (Tor, Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Marc-Andre ist eine echte Persönlichkeit. Auch er ist stark im Eins-gegen-Eins und hat eine spezielle Ausstrahlung. Er ist als Torwart schon sehr weit in seiner Entwicklung.

Bienvenue Basala-Mazana (Abwehr, 1. FC Köln)

"Ben" kommt vor allem über seine enorme Schnelligkeit in die Spiele. Er nimmt in unserem Team eine absolute Führungsrolle ein und ist variabel auf fast allen Defensivpositionen einsetzbar.

Robert Labus (Abwehr, Hamburger SV)
Er ist ein Innenverteidiger, der vor allem technisch gut ausgebildet ist. Robert hat eine gute Spielübersicht und behält daher auf dem Platz immer die Ruhe.

Shkodran Mustafi (Abwehr, Hamburger SV)

Shkodran ist eine Persönlichkeit, ein absoluter Führungsspieler. Er ist anerkannt im Team, sein Wort hat Gewicht. Ihn zeichnet eine große Robustheit aus. Zudem ist er immer aggressiv und in der Offensive sogar torgefährlich.

Gerrit Nauber (Abwehr, Bayer Leverkusen)

Gerrit ist ein disziplinierter, professioneller Spieler, ein echter Musterschüler. Er arbeitet immer an sich und möchte sich weiterentwickeln. In der Mannschaft bringt er sich immer positiv ein, auf dem Platz ist er zudem sehr lautstark.

Marvin Plattenhardt (Abwehr, 1. FC Nürnberg)

Außerhalb des Spielfelds ist Marvin sehr ruhig, auf dem Platz besticht er durch seine Präsenz. Er verkörpert einen konsequenten, einfachen Spielstil, der sehr effektiv ist. Er ist ein wichtiger Teil unserer Mannschaft, der auf der linken Seite jede Position spielen kann.

Christopher Buchtmann (Mittelfeld, FC Liverpool)

Christopher ist ein echter Führungsspieler. Er kann eine Partie allein entscheiden, sowohl durch Pässe als auch durch seine Torgefährlichkeit. Er ist unser Engländer, und durch den FC Liverpool wurde er geprägt: Er ist ein aggressiver Typ, der die Mentalität der Briten verinnerlicht hat und nie aufgibt.

Mario Götze (Mittelfeld, Borussia Dortmund)

Mario ist ein echtes Schlitzohr. Er hat alle technischen und taktischen Fähigkeiten. Die Rolle als Spielgestalter kann er einnehmen und ist dabei immer torgefährlich.

Manuel Janzer (Mittelfeld, VfB Stuttgart)

Manuel zeichnet eine enorme Laufbereitschaft und ein großes Durchsetzungsvermögen aus. Er kann Tore erzielen, hat eine gute Technik und ist im Mittelfeld und in der Abwehr einsetzbar.

Yunus Malli (Mittelfeld, Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Yunus kommt auf den ersten Blick unscheinbar rüber. Aber er macht durch seine fußballerischen Qualitäten auf sich aufmerksam. Er ist ein technisch starker Spieler, der sich dank seiner Schnelligkeit immer wieder durchsetzen kann.

Niko Opper (Mittelfeld, Bayer Leverkusen)

Niko ist ein intelligenter Spieler. Wenn er sich weiter in die richtige Richtung entwickelt, kann er zum Führungsspieler reifen. Auch er strahlt Torgefahr aus dem Mittelfeld aus.

Florian Trinks (Mittelfeld, Werder Bremen)

Florian kann Spiele allein entscheiden. Er ist ein torgefährlicher, technisch feiner Spieler. Zudem verfügt er über eine hervorragende Spielübersicht.

Reinhold Yabo (Mittelfeld, 1. FC Köln)

Unser Kapitän - ein echter Führungsspieler. Außerhalb und innerhalb des Feldes gibt er den Ton an. Er bestimmt das Tempo und ist das Herz unseres Spiels.

Matthias Zimmermann (Mittelfeld, Karlsruher SC)
Matthias ist ein vielseitiger Spieler. Er hat eine besondere Aggressivität in sich. Diese versetzt ihn in die Lage, einen Gegner ausschalten zu können und sich dennoch in der Offensive einzuschalten. Das macht ihn zu einem wertvollen Spieler, der in der Abwehr und im Mittelfeld variabel einsetzbar ist.

Abu-Bakarr Kargbo (Angriff, Hertha BSC Berlin)

Bakarr ist ein ruhiger Zeitgenosse. Allerdings kann er im Spiel explodieren. Er ist unser jüngster Spieler, auch wenn er nicht so aussieht. Denn er ist sehr robust und athletisch.

Kevin Scheidhauer (Angriff, VfL Wolfsburg)

Kevin ist ein athletischer, robuster Spieler mit einer besonderen Dynamik. Er hat im Strafraum eine große Präsenz und ist immer torgefährlich.

Lennart Thy (Angriff, Werder Bremen)

Lennart ist eine Frohnatur und im Team ein absoluter Sympathieträger. Er ist ein Mannschaftsspieler, der sich für das Team aufopfert. Er hat bisher für uns die meisten Tore erzielt. Im Offensivspiel hat er große Qualitäten. Nach einer Außenbandverletzung ist er gerade rechtzeitig zum Turnierstart fit geworden.


[Apr.02]

UEFA.com訪問到舉辦國U-17教練Marco Pezzaiuoli,前文先提及自2004年開始舉辦任何一屆歐青賽的地主國從未贏得冠軍過,且德國青年隊上次奪冠是在1992年拿下U-16冠軍,或許Pezzaiuoli會終結這一系列的"魔咒"。Pezzaiuoli在當球員時從未代表過國家比賽,但在當教練這角色上他極為適任!以下是uefa訪問的內容,主要在提及他如何準備,在面對未來以及以前的比賽心態以及所需的事物為何:)

Pezzaiuoli puts forward Germany case

Thursday 2 April 2009 / by Matthias Rötters


No host nation has won the UEFA European Under-17 Championship since 2004, and Germany's last victory in the junior competition was in its U16 guise in 1992, but coach Marco Pezzaiuoli has been charged with ending both those runs in this year's finals from 6-18 May. The 40-year-old never played at the top level but has had more impact as a trainer, acting as caretaker coach at Karlsruher SC and working in South Korea. He took over the current Germany squad as U16s in summer 2007 and is optimistic about their chances, with their last friendly on 12 April against Bulgaria in Gera.

uefa.com: How are preparations going?

Marco Pezzaiuoli:
So far, so good! This year we've had five games – against Norway [1-0], Luxembourg [5-0], Scotland [1-0 away] and Ukraine [3-0 and 0-0]. From those games we won four, drew one and didn't concede a single goal. I'm very satisfied with that.

uefa.com: Between the summer and the new year, things didn't look quite so good; there were only two wins in nine outings, with three draws and four defeats...

Pezzaiuoli:
Looking back, I would consider those games to be part of a rebuilding phase. We played against top teams, such as Italy, Spain or the Netherlands, and were never overwhelmed; they were all close-run matches with marginal results. We learned a lot from those games.

uefa.com: What has made the difference since then?

Pezzaiuoli:
We had a very large squad in 2008, many players were used and we tried out quite a few things. That's all different now; everyone has got to know one another better and a real team spirit has developed. The team is gelling more from match to match.

uefa.com: Admittedly the games have only been friendlies – as hosts, your side qualified for the European Championship automatically. Is that a disadvantage?

Pezzaiuoli:
It's both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand we are under less pressure at the moment and can experiment more. On the other hand, in friendly games, a distinct element of tension is missing. When things finally get under way we'll know more.

uefa.com: That will be the opening game on 6 May. What are your team's hopes?

Pezzaiuoli:
The anticipation is massive. We've worked long and hard for this and naturally want to go as far as possible – preferably to the final. We may be lacking the technical qualities of the Spanish, but you need more than just that to win. The fans will definitely get to see some very strong teams.

uefa.com: They should get behind your team too. How valuable is that home advantage?

Pezzaiuoli:
That's difficult to say. For teams in this age group the weight of expectation, and the ever-increasing pressure, can become a disadvantage. From the U19s onwards, the players start to understand how to make use of such an advantage. [The coaching staff] must show the team how to make use of the energy created by the crowd.

uefa.com: What is the key to taking the European Championship title?

Pezzaiuoli:
A great deal of effort, self-confidence, respect for every opponent and absolute will to force luck when need be.

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