Captain Anton Mitryushkin found plenty of cause for optimism despite Russia slipping to a 2-0 defeat against Spain in the final of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Greece.
The Spartak Moskva goalkeeper, who has already been capped by Russia at under-21 level, produced an outstanding individual display, particularly in the first half, and told UEFA.com how the disappointment of losing in Katerini will not eclipse an outstanding achievement from his squad.
UEFA.com: How disappointed are you after such an excellent tournament to have been beaten in the final?
Anton Mitryushkin: Of course I'm disappointed because you always want to win when you are in a final, but we've got to admit today that Spain deserved their victory. We played a good game, but Spain were just better on the night.
UEFA.com: How do you look back on the tournament as a whole?
Mitryushkin: I know I'm not only speaking for myself but also on behalf of the whole team when I say we all fought hard in this tournament and tried all we could to win it. We can all be proud of how far we came and what we achieved.
UEFA.com: What are the positives you can take out of the tournament?
Mitryushkin: It's really been a great experience for us. We came through a really tough group – the group of death – but we emerged from it as winners. We have proved that we are able to hold our own against some really top teams and get results.
UEFA.com: This team won the Under-17s two years ago and has now reached the final of the U19s. What sort of a future does this group have?
Mitryushkin: We will move on from this disappointment, of course. This experience is going to be invaluable for us. It's not as if we come away from here having gained nothing – we may have lost the final, but we take a lot back with us. We can only grow from this.
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