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Monday 29 May 2017

O'Brien: U17s will learn from loss

Irish into Euro 'last eight' despite 7-0 defeat

Ireland’s Nathan Collins in action against Germany’s Elias Abouchabaka in yesterday’s Group C clash in Rijeka, Croatia.
Ireland’s Nathan Collins in action against Germany’s Elias Abouchabaka in yesterday’s Group C clash in Rijeka, Croatia.
Bosnia’s Armin Imamovic (left) - who scored the goal that sent Ireland into the U17 European Championships quarter-finals, in action against Serbia’s Aleksandar Kostic yesterday.

Ireland Under-17s will face England in the European Championships quarter-finals in Croatia on Saturday, despite a 7-0 Group C drubbing by Germany yesterday.

A last-minute winner in the other group game for Bosnia & Herzegovina against Serbia, ensured a three-way tie on points in second place.

However, due to Ireland's superior record against Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, manager Colin O'Brien's side astonishingly made it into the last eight of the tournament.

O'Brien, however, insists his squad will learn from the chastening defeat by Germany as they prepare to meet an England side that won all of their group games, scoring ten goals in the process.

Speaking after the game, O'Brien reflected on a day of very mixed emotions.

"We had a tough day at the office. There will be a lot to learn for us from that game. We were second best for a lot of it," he said.

"When you play a team like Germany and you don't do the right things around your own box, they are clinical and they showed that.

"However, it (the tournament) was about keeping it alive for the last match. With Bosnia winning it has put us through to the quarter-final stage, the furthest we've got in 20 years so it's a good day from that perspective."

Ireland opened with a 2-1 defeat to Serbia last Friday, but beat Bosnia by the same score on Sunday, setting up a final group encounter with the highly-fancied Germans early yesterday.

Ireland, however, found themselves 3-0 down after just 20 minutes with goals from Elias Abouchabaka, Jann-Fiete Arp and a Lee O'Connor own goal. Arp added a fourth for the Germans on the stroke of half-time.

Germany picked up where they left off in the second half with Arp claiming his hat-trick, while Noah Awuku and Eric Hottmann completed the rout.

However, despite the disappointing result, Bosnia were able to do Ireland a favour, with Armin Imamovic now an Irish fan favourite - akin to Scotland's Gary Mackay whose 1987 European qualifier goal against Bulgaria sent Ireland to Euro 88 - after netting the decisive goal in the other Group C game.

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