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Valero the hero for Spain

Published: Friday 3 March 2006, 14.04CET
Spain took the UEFA European Under-19 Championship for the second time in three years with a last-gasp win in the 2004 final against Turkey.
Valero the hero for Spain
Spain emerged victorious in the 2004 championship after beating Turkey in the final ©
Published: Friday 3 March 2006, 14.04CET

Valero the hero for Spain

Spain took the UEFA European Under-19 Championship for the second time in three years with a last-gasp win in the 2004 final against Turkey.

Spain ran out 1-0 winners against Turkey in the final played opposite UEFA's headquarters in Nyon as the third UEFA European Under-19 Championship came to Switzerland for the governing body's 50th jubilee.

Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were seeded so avoided the qualifying round, the biggest casualties at that stage proving four-time U18 champions and 2003 qualifiers France. Switzerland had won the U17 title two years previously, so had a decent pedigree, which they proved by holding reigning champions Italy 1-1 in their first Group 1 game, while Belgium and Ukraine played out a goalless draw. The Swiss then defeated Belgium 2-0 and Ukraine overcame the holders 1-0. That meant leaders Switzerland and Ukraine would both go through if they drew their last game, which indeed finished 0-0 in torrential rain. Italy's 4-0 victory against Belgium was therefore not enough to take them through.

In Group 2, Spain began by winning the 2002 final rematch 3-0 against Germany, while Ali Öztürk's hat-trick clinched Turkey a 4-3 win against Poland. Turkey would then lose a thriller 3-2 against Spain, Robuste's last-gasp goal taking his team through. Germany boosted their chances by eliminating Poland 3-1, but a 1-1 draw against Turkey in their final match meant it was the Turks and not Germany that progressed. Spain kept up their form to defeat Poland 4-1 and finish top with a perfect record.

Both semi-finals proved epics. Switzerland scored first against Turkey, but the game ended 1-1 at 90 minutes and were defeated 3-2 after extra-time. In the other semi-final Spain led Ukraine both in normal and extra time, but drew 2-2, eventually prevailing 4-1 on penalties. The final was also seemingly headed for an additional half-hour, but 85th-minute substitute Borja Valero scored an added-time goal to give Spain a 1-0 victory.

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