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Jesé secures sixth Under-19 title for slick Spain

Published: Sunday 15 July 2012, 22.25CET
Spain 1-0 Greece
Top scorer Jesé Rodríguez's late goal gave holders Spain a sixth UEFA European Under-19 Championship triumph on a wet night in Tallinn.
by Andrew Haslam
from Lilleküla Stadium

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Published: Sunday 15 July 2012, 22.25CET

Jesé secures sixth Under-19 title for slick Spain

Spain 1-0 Greece
Top scorer Jesé Rodríguez's late goal gave holders Spain a sixth UEFA European Under-19 Championship triumph on a wet night in Tallinn.

A late goal from Jesé Rodríguez continued Spain's dominance of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, securing a sixth title in 11 years – and a second in succession – at the expense of a tireless Greece team.

In the final for the third year in a row, La Rojita characteristically monopolised possession but without breaking down their opponents, José Campaña's shot striking the crossbar to encapsulate their frustrations. Julen Lopetegui's team finally made their pressure tell ten minutes from time as Jesé's calm finish gave them the trophy yet again in front of a crowd of almost 8,000 spectators – and ensured a repeat of their 2007 final defeat of Greece by the same scoreline.

The day had featured prolonged bursts of heavy rain in Tallinn and, though the skies had cleared by kick-off, the playing surface was slick and rapid – suiting Spain's sharp passing style perfectly. La Rojita duly settled the quicker, Jesé's angled strike bringing goalkeeper Sokratis Dioudis – in for the suspended Stefanos Kapino – into action in the second minute before Kostas Stafylidis kicked Gerard Deulofeu's shot off the line.

With a starting lineup including three players who appeared in the 2011 final – Deulofeu, Paco Alcácer and Campaña – Spain continued to press at relentless speed, Dioudis making another smart stop from Jesé at his near post. Deulofeu then freed Jesé down the right and raced into the box to meet the low return cross himself only to flick wide.

Greece, however, had shown their voracious appetite for defensive duty in their semi-final win against England and served notice of a threat of their own shortly before the break. Giannis Gianniotas got away from two defenders down the Greece left and picked out Giorgos Katidis with his cross, but the captain's looping header dropped wide.

Spain, though, picked up the pace again as the second half got under way, Campaña testing Dioudis with a swerving shot and then beating the goalkeeper from the edge of the area after a typically incisive passing move; only the crossbar came to Greece's rescue. Moments later Dioudis was their saviour, blocking Jesé's low drive with his outstretched right foot and recovering instantly to palm away Alejandro Grimaldo's follow-up effort.

The goalkeeper was exposed again ten minutes from time, however, and this time there was no escape. Deulofeu collected possession midway inside the Greece half and drew defenders to him before slipping a shot through to Jesé; the finish was unerring and Spain were champions again.

Last updated: 31/10/12 17.45CET

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http://www.uefa.com/under19/season=2012/matches/round=2000212/match=2010328/postmatch/report/index.html#jese+secures+sixth+under+title+slick+spain

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