offers 'no excuses'
Germany coach Rudi Völler said there were "no excuses" for the 5-1 defeat in Romania, while Giovanni Trapattoni sang Roberto Baggio's praises.
29 April 2004
Romaina 5-1 Germany
Germany coach Rudi Völler said there were "no excuses" for last night's 5-1 humiliation in Romania, a result which reverberated around Europe. Germany were missing regulars like Christian Wörns, Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose but Völler said: "I don't want to hear anybody complaining about the injury problems because the players that came in are all experienced players." The coach did admit, though, that he had erred in selecting both Jens Jeremies and Carsten Ramelow in a makeshift central defence. "Both of them feel more at home in midfield and they shouldn't have been used in central defence together," he said.
Italy 1-1 Spain
Giovanni Trapattoni praised the performance of Roberto Baggio who "did some wonderful things" on his first international appearance in five years. Asked about Baggio's chances of playing at EURO 2004, he said: "There is no future at the moment but I know where Baggio is. He trains just 70 kilometres from me." The coach also praised goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi for a "really good" display on his return while Fabio Cannavaro was "fantastic".
Spain coach Iñaki Sáez was delighted with his side's efforts in Genoa. "We played really well, controlling the game and keeping possession of the ball," he said. "I'm really satisfied with the performances of all my players. It's really good to know that we have many options."
Netherlands 4-0 Greece
Dutch coach Dick Advocaat felt his new diamond-shaped midfield had "worked very well". He said: "We were in control in the first half and in the second half you could see that the Greeks could not keep up with us any more and we converted our superiority in goals. Unlike the last time we used this system against Belgium last year, I gave my players very strict orders this time and they were very disciplined - I am very happy with that and it means we can continue with this formation."
After seeing his team's 15-match unbeaten run end, Greece coach Otto Rehhagel said: "Given the strength of the opposition we tried to play with a closed defence and to look for the counterattack. This went very well in the first half, but because of the many substitutions in the second half our organisation fell away. We gave the Dutch too much space in the second period."
Portugal 2-2 Sweden
Luiz Felipe Scolari, coach of the EURO 2004 hosts, said his side "concede goals too easily" after a result which leaves them with one win in five matches. However, the game had helped his planning. "We made some experiments and I observed some players who are not usually part of the team," said the Brazilian, who switched from a 4-5-1 system to 4-4-2 during the match. "We made some important tactical changes and variations looking for the best performance."
Sweden's co-coach Lars Lagerbäck said his team "had some problems in the first half but in the second half our defence was better". He continued: "I must say that it was a good result and a great preparation for our players regarding EURO 2004. In the finals we hope to play our best football with all the players available because we had some injuries which affected the team."
Denmark 1-0 Scotland
After a "difficult" start to their game in Copenhagen, Danish coach Morten Olsen felt his side improved as they won through Ebbe Sand's first international goal in two years. "We got better after the first 20 minutes and produced all the chances you can expect against a team that defends as well as the Scots did," he said. "We got a lot of space as we managed to improve our game and step up the pace."
Bulgaria 3-0 Cameroon
Plamen Markov was "delighted" by his team's first win of 2004. "We did not play so well in our first two games of the year," he said, "but this time the players responded really well. I think we deserved the win but we still have to fix some problems."
Switzerland 2-1 Slovenia
After two defeats, Swiss coach Köbi Kuhn was glad to see his side "take a step forward" with victory in Geneva. "The result and the performance were good," he said. "But it's obvious that we must play better in Portugal to have a chance."
Latvia 0-0 Iceland
Aleksandrs Starkovs was satisfied despite the stalemate. "It is exactly the kind of friendly we wanted to play," he said. "We played well at the back and created chances up front. Maybe we lacked some luck, but it is good to keep some in reserve for Portugal."
Macedonia 0-1 Croatia
Otto Baric said his team "played a quality game against difficult opponents" and declared himself "satisfied with the new players in the team, goalkeeper Joey Didulica and midfield player Nenad Bjelica". He added: "We had six or seven players above the average and when Robert Kovac and Dado Pro are back, we will be a really good team."
Czech Republic 0-1 Japan
The Czechs suffered their first home defeat since November 2001 after what coach Karel Brückner considered a "poor game" marked by "overcomplicated" play and "hit-and-miss" finishing from his side. Brückner experimented with a back three in the first half but said afterwards: "We will seek alternatives in defence as this one failed today." One positive was the "good form" of defender Pavel Mare on his first appearance for two years.
Norway 3-2 Russia
Despite losing in Olso, Georgi Yartsev described this as an "important and useful game" which had helped "to expose the problems of our team". Russia closed the deficit to a single goal after trailing 3-0 but Yartsev admitted their first-half display was not good enough: "We didn't play fast enough - this was the hosts' main advantage in the first half. After the break we played faster, better and made many more scoring opportunities."