Spain will again take part in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship Elite round, although the four-time winners were forced to settle for second place in Group 8 behind neighbours Portugal.
The Iberian pair made the expected strong start to the mini-tournament on Matchday 1, goals from Sérgio Oliveira, Nuno Reis and Alexandre Freitas securing a 3-0 win for Portugal against Wales in Alzira. Section hosts Spain were even more impressive against FYR Macedonia in Alginet, Rodrigo Moreno scoring twice and Canales, Daniel Pacheco and Keko also on target, Antonio Stankov mustering the sole reply.
It was an identical story for Portugal in the second round of games, a second successive 3-0 victory, against FYR Macedonia this time, wrapped up by goals from Nélson Oliveira, Freitas and Rui Caetano. Spain were made to work harder for their win by a well-drilled Wales side at La Forana, Rodrigo Moreno scoring what proved to be the only goal of the game five minutes into the second period to ensure Spain and Portugal would both play in the Elite round.
It was the latter who had the honour of finishing first, however, as Rubén Pinto's 19th-minute effort proved enough to separate the two qualifiers in their final game. Wales, meanwhile, cannot progress despite defeating FYR Macedonia to finish third in the section thanks to goals from David Stephens, Jake Taylor and Kayelden Brown, Bunjamin Shabani having levelled at 1-1.
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