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 Hrubesch salutes historic title

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Number of posts : 70
Age : 34
Location : Warsaw Capital, Poland
Registration date : 2008-02-24

PostSubject: Hrubesch salutes historic title   Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:48 am

"That's a title for posterity," enthused Germany coach Horst Hrubesch after watching his charges see off Italy with a 3-1 victory in the final. After a 16-year wait, it was a first title for a German youth team since 1992, when the U-16 selection defeated Spain in Cyprus to claim the European crown. "We'll still be talking about this in 50 years time," claimed a euphoric Hrubesch. High praise indeed from the experienced tactician, who, in his time as a player, tasted European glory at senior level.

The German success is all the more remarkable given the absence of three players widely seen as being among the squad's strongest. Marko Marin (Borussia Moenchengladbach) and Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich) chose to stay at home to concentrate on pre-season preparations with their Bundesliga clubs, while injury forced Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Hamburger SV) to sit out the tournament.

Despite being unable to call on the talented trio, the team captained by Florian Jungwirth managed to fulfil the coach's expectations. Hrubesch had himself set the bar high by coming up with the team's motto for the tournament - ‘No returning home empty-handed'.

Italians satisfied despite defeat
Beaten finalists Italy were content with their performance despite not managing to go all the way. "We acquitted ourselves well throughout the tournament even if it wasn't quite the ending we were hoping for," said Italy coach Francesco Rocca.

"Obviously, when you get to the final you want to win it. Maybe the pressure got to the players today," he added. Rocca, however, found some consolation by looking ahead, saying, "The standard of the tournament was very high which makes us hopeful for the future. It was a valuable learning experience for the players."

Reaching the final this year will surely be seen as an achievement for the Azzurri, who have failed to even qualify for the championships since lifting the trophy in 2003.

Early exits for Spain and England
Reigning champions Spain unwittingly provided the shock of the tournament by going out after the group stage. Their 4-0 victory over Bulgaria was little more than a consolation after defeats to Germany (1-2) and Hungary (0-1) had the winners of the last two championships booking the first plane home.

Similarly disappointed were England and Greece. The former, finalists at the event in 2005, arrived with high hopes and a resolve to make amends for their failure to qualify for the last two editions. However, after picking up just four points in their three group games, Brian Eastwick's charges made an unexpectedly premature exit. Likewise, Greece failed to make it to the knock-out stages despite claiming the runners-up spot in 2007.

One team, though, who did exceed expectations were Hungary. The unfancied central Europeans, playing in the tournament for the first time, advanced to the semi-final, even managing to beat Spain 1-0 during the group stages.

Semi-final exit for hosts
Host nation, the Czech Republic, once again missed out on a place in the final after losing to Germany in their last-four clash. The semi-finalists from 2003 and 2006 went down 2-1 after extra time to the tournament's eventual winners. "I'm very proud of my team even if we did lack conviction at decisive moments. We'll remember this tournament for a long time," said Czech coach Jacob Dovalil after his team's exit.

They may have not made the final but the Czechs can boast of having the tournament's top scorer in their ranks. The 18-year-old striker, Tomas Necid, from FK Jablonec notched up four goals, twice as many as team-mate Jan Moravek. His tally also doubled that of top German scorers, Marcel Risse und Richard Sukuta-Pasu, who had to make do with two apiece.

Along with the Czech Republic, five other European teams have already booked their places at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 - Italy, Spain, Hungary, England and newly-crowned European Champions, Germany.

Given the quality of the participants who will grace that showpiece event, Horst Hrubesch's call here not to return home empty-handed could well be the goal of many sides in Egypt next year.
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