Addressing the UEFA Conference for European National Team Coaches, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino hailed UEFA EURO 2012 but warned "we can't rest on our laurels".
European national team coaches and technical directors are joining with UEFA in Warsaw to celebrate the summer's festival of football at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, as well as to point the way forward to tomorrow.
The tenth UEFA Conference for European National Team Coaches is giving the European body the opportunity to praise the coaches and their teams for making the tournament such a vibrant success. In particular, European champions Spain and their coach Vicente del Bosque are being honoured by their colleagues for the latest in a series of major triumphs on the international football stage.
"Poland and Ukraine can be extremely proud of their resounding success in staging the event," UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino told the audience in Warsaw. "We can certainly say that we 'Created History Together' this summer.
"I also wish to emphasise that we at UEFA are especially proud of the quality of the football that was on display, as well as the respectful attitude shown by players and officials, both on and off the pitch, and in particular towards the referee teams."
UEFA EURO 2012 had given another vivid example of the special attraction of national team football, which Mr Infantino said, "is in excellent shape in Europe. This was clearly demonstrated by the very high standard of the matches during UEFA EURO 2012. UEFA believes very much in the national team game as a source of national identity and national pride, and as a fascinating window into a country's football and its footballers.
National team football unites entire countries. National team football is what makes our hearts beat.
"But as coaches and technical experts," the UEFA General Secretary continued, "you are all fully aware that football is a never-ending story – we can never rest on our laurels. It is with a strong desire to further develop the game and prove successful that all of you have now embarked on the qualifying competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
"You all play a key role in the continuous success of players' development. You are at the forefront in identifying technical and tactical trends which are shaping the football of tomorrow, and which will allow the football world at large to discover talented new young players who will become the stars of the future."
UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh set the scene for the Warsaw discussions. The European Championship was setting football's benchmarks alongside the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League. "[UEFA EURO 2012] was a wonderful success," he said. "The reasons were many – positive play, good refereeing, positive attitudes, a great atmosphere, no doping, and the tournament was highly competitive from start to finish."
Spain and their coach Del Bosque again set the standards to aspire to this summer. "There were a number of key elements in Spain's success," said Roxburgh. "Their mentality, philosophy, [national association] president, coach, staff and attitude. Their intensive work in youth development and coach education has been decisive. It has all not just been by chance – it has been by design.
"The chemistry within the group, the depth of the squad and the blend of the talent," he added. "This was a winning mentality." In addition, Del Bosque's splendid handling of his squad, his human qualities and wisdom, his leadership and his calm under pressure were all key as Spain followed up their triumphs at UEFA EURO 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a third successive major trophy in Poland and Ukraine – "a remarkable hat-trick," said Roxburgh.