Spain, six time winners of the UEFA European Under-16 Championship, had taken six attempts, including two runs to the final, before finally they took the new U17 title in 2007.
Belgium, having qualified their own right in 2006, were hosts a year on but while the previous season's semi-finalists Germany and Spain made it through again, runners-up the Czech Republic were knocked out in the Elite round as were holders Russia, losing their decider in Portugal 6-5 to Iceland in an extraordinary victory for the island nation.
In their first UEFA finals for ten years, Iceland started in Group B against England and lost 2-0. The hosts led twice against the Netherlands but drew 2-2 though then came from behind to hold England 1-1. The Netherlands beat Iceland 3-0 but then lost double goalscorer Daley Blind to injury and he was missed as although the Dutch fought back from two down to level against England they lost 4-2. That allowed Belgium to reach their first youth semi-finals by beating Iceland 5-1 in a windy Tournai.
Group A seemed to be going the way of Spain and Germany when they beat France and Ukraine respectively 2-0. Although Spain then overcame Ukraine 3-1, France came from behind to overcome Germany 2-1. That proved a vital result as although France only drew 2-2 with Ukraine having gone two ahead, Germany were held 0-0 by Spain and went out on head-to-head record. However, they did have the consolation of a play-off for the fifth FIFA U-17 World Cup place and defeated the Netherlands 3-2 to join the four semi-finalists in Korea Republic.
The first semi-final matched Belgium and Spain in Tournai and the hosts seemed to be heading for victory when Eden Hazard’s shot was turned into his own goal by David Rochela just after the hour. But 2006 finals top scorer Bojan Krkić struck a thunderbolt equaliser with nine minutes left and the game ended up going to penalties. Spain missed their first spot-kick and Belgium seemed to be back on course for victory but Maurizio Aquino put what would have been his winning penalty over. Then with the score at 7-6 in sudden death Spain goalkeeper David De Egea denied Belgium captain Dimitri Daeseleire.
Later in Tubize, England went ahead eleven minutes in against France through Victor Moses, his third goal of the finals, but could not add to their lead before the break. Then in the second half England suffered several injuries, most seriously Henri Lansbury to concussion, and had to dig deep to hold on through eight added minutes.
There was also only one goal in the final in Tournai. Spain were on top in the first half with the wind but it was eight minutes into the second period when Bojan produced an emphatic finish. England tried to get back into the game but Spain ultimately could have won by more and were deserved champions as coach Juan Santisteban again had a title to celebrate.
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.