Van ‘t Schip: “We are building something new”
Following the 2-0 defeat to Italy in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying, national team head coach John van ‘t Schip revealed his satisfaction with the way his players competed.
In comparison to the two games against Finland and Liechtenstein in September, the Greeks certainly took a step forward at the Stadio Olimpico, but their improved performance wasn’t enough to earn a positive result. Dimitris Limnios, Efthymis Koulouris and Tasos Bakasetas all passed up great opportunities for Greece in Rome, and those misses proved crucial as a penalty from Jorginho and Federico Bernardeschi’s deflected strike sealed all three points for the Italians. Italy are now guaranteed a place at Euro 2020.
“The players did very well considering the quality which Italy have,” stated Van ‘t Schip. “I liked the way we stuck to our game plan, especially during the first half. However, Italy pressed us more in the second, and we couldn’t create a lot attacking wise. We did have some good opportunities with Limnios, Koulouris and Bakasetas, so the score could have been different. We needed a little bit of luck, but Italy have a quality team. Our guys did well.”
“This is a process, we are building something new,” continued the Dutch manager. “I think that there were a few good signs today. We know that we’re in a difficult situation, but we have to continue building.”
AZ Alkmaar centre-back Pantelis Hatzidiakos, who was making his debut for the senior national team, expressed his pride in representing Greece: “I am proud of myself for making it to this level, I have worked hard in order to make this happen. Moving forward, we need to remain a united group and show that we’re a family. We will work even harder to improve. Italy are a great team with very good players.”
Tasos Bakasetas revealed his bitterness with the result given the way Greece played in Rome: “I had a chance to score today, and it was a very difficult game for us,” said the Alanyaspor representative. “In these matches, you have to remain 100% focused. This result leaves us with a bitter feeling, because we could have achieved something with the opportunities which we had. We are building for the future.”
Teammate Dimitris Limnios also shared his emotions from the battle: “First of all, I want to congratulate all of the players, we gave 100% from start to finish. Koulouris, Bakasetas and I all had great chances to score goals. We are pleased with the performance, but we still need to make big improvements. We want to play better against Bosnia and attract the supporters back to the stadium.”