Their place in this year's UEFA European Under-19 Championship final secured following a convincing victory against England, forward Sergio Canales believes Spain can get even better in time for Friday's showpiece against hosts France.
With four wins from as many games so far in this year's tournament in Basse-Normandie, La Roja continue to display their ingenuity with Canales's clever goal against the English the perfect example of a team playing with plenty of confidence. Leading 2-1 shortly before the hour mark, Luis Milla's side were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position and set about putting a training-ground routine into action.
"It was one of those moves where you get two players standing over the ball with someone lining up to shoot," the Real Madrid CF player explained to UEFA.com. "I positioned myself in the wall and when the time came to strike the ball I made sure I wasn't in an offside position." With midfielder Oriol Romeu charging in as if to shoot, Thiago Alcántara quickly flicked a pass over the England wall where Canales was waiting to pounce. "When I found myself in on goal it was just a case of applying the finish," the 19-year-old continued.
The goal sparked a joyous celebration among the four-time winners similar to those witnessed in Flers three days earlier when Ezequiel Calvente's audacious penalty put Spain 3-0 ahead in their final Group B game against Italy. Summing up the mood within the group Daniel Pacheco – the tournament's leading marksman with four goals and scorer of his team's opener against England – said: "The atmosphere is incredible. You could see that at the end of the game with how we celebrated. Everyone was congratulating each other; the players, the doctors and the technical staff.
We're really united and thrilled that we’ve managed to play fantastic football again."
With a rematch of the 2008 U17 final between France and Spain now looming large, the pair are targeting a repeat of La Roja's 4-0 winning margin in Turkey. "We know that the final is going to be exceptionally difficult, but we just have to keep going the way we have until this point," said Canales, who came on as a late substitute in that game. Pacheco missed out on the trip to Antalya altogether despite playing in five of Spain's six qualifiers and is determined to make up for lost time, adding: "It's a giant stride to reach a final and we're continuing to get better."
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