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Thiago treble helps Spain retain Under-21 crown

Published: Tuesday 18 June 2013, 19.55CET
Italy 2-4 Spain
Captain Thiago Alcántara's first-half hat-trick fired Spain to a fourth UEFA European Under-21 Championship title and second in a row.
by Tom Kell
from Teddy Stadium

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Match statistics

ItalySpain

Goals scored2
 
4
Attempts on target3
 
9
Attempts off target6
 
5
Corners4
 
3
Fouls committed19
 
12
Yellow cards4
 
3
Red Cards0
 
0

Standings

Matches

18 June 2013

Winner Semi-final 1Winner Semi-final 118:00Winner Semi-final 2Winner Semi-final 2
Published: Tuesday 18 June 2013, 19.55CET

Thiago treble helps Spain retain Under-21 crown

Italy 2-4 Spain
Captain Thiago Alcántara's first-half hat-trick fired Spain to a fourth UEFA European Under-21 Championship title and second in a row.

Thiago Alcántara struck the first ever hat-trick in a one-off Under-21 final as Spain beat Italy 4-2 to retain their UEFA European U21 Championship title.

Julen Lopetegui's masterly Spain side came into the decider unbeaten in 25 competitive encounters, and though Thiago's early opener looked to have set them on course to increase that tally, Ciro Immobile soon struck back for Italy. It proved a false dawn for Devis Mangia's team, who fell behind again just after the half-hour.

The two previous finals between these nations – in 1986 and 1996 – had been won on penalties, so it was fitting that spot kicks from Thiago and Isco ultimately settled matters in Jerusalem. Fabio Borini's 80th-minute riposte was too little, too late.

Considering these two sides had conceded a solitary goal between them in Israel, few could have foreseen such a helter-skelter encounter. Álvaro Morata, the adidas Golden Boot winner with four goals, had been Spain's go-to man in their opening four fixtures and, six minutes into the showpiece, again came up trumps. This time he played the role of provider, shimmying his way to the byline before standing the ball up for Thiago to head in from close range.

If that was typical tiki-taka from Spain, the Azzurrini's equaliser came in more direct fashion. Immobile brought down Matteo Bianchetti's long pass with one exquisite touch before dinking the ball over David de Gea – bang went Spain's tournament clean sheet.

Francesco Bardi soon got down swiftly to deny Morata and Koke, thus keeping his team level. De Gea, making his 27th appearance to equal Santi Denia as Spain's most-capped U21 international, was in action himself before the half-hour. Alessandro Florenzi raced on to Borini's pass, bamboozled Marc Bartra and volleyed goalwards – De Gea was well placed.

©Getty Images

Thiago Alcántara converts from the spot

It proved a turning point for Spain, who restored their advantage when Thiago wriggled free, took Koke's ball down on his chest and squeezed a shot through Bardi's legs. The Italian did not get quite so close to preventing La Rojita's third, Thiago slotting past him from the spot after Giulio Donati felled Tello.

The FC Barcelona midfielder so nearly made it four after the interval but his low effort was thwarted by Bardi. De Gea should also have been required not long after, Lorenzo Insigne and Florenzi both snatching at half-chances. Isco soon followed suit at the other end, putting his first-time finish narrowly wide following a lightning-fast counterattack from Cristian Tello.

Though Tello's pace was now proving a frequent thorn in Italy's side, it was the man behind him who teed up Spain's fourth, Martín Montoya pulled down by Vasco Regini after racing forward from right-back; Isco made no mistake.

Despite the early scare it seemed that, finally, Lopetegui's assertion that "the final is in our hands" had come to fruition. Though Borini prompted brief cause for alarm with a fine finish, Lopetegui, mastermind of Spain's U19 triumph last summer, could join a record crowd at Teddy Stadium in watching his team lift Spain's fourth U21 title in consummate fashion.

Last updated: 22/06/13 1.00CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2013/matches/round=2000191/match=2010959/postmatch/report/index.html#spain+retain+under+crown

Quotes

  • Julen Lopetegui

    Read more"We have one style and we believe in this style, we work on this style"

  • Devis Mangia

    "What can I say? I'm proud of this team and we love each other"

Lineups

Italy

Italy

Spain

Spain

1
BardiFrancesco Bardi (GK)
1
De GeaDavid de Gea (GK)
2
DonatiGiulio Donati
2
MontoyaMartín Montoya
4
VerrattiMarco Verratti
Yellow Card18
Substitution76
3
IllarramendiAsier Illarramendi
6
CaldirolaLuca Caldirola (C)
Yellow Card71
5
BartraMarc Bartra
7
FlorenziAlessandro Florenzi
Substitution58
6
Iñigo MartínezIñigo Martínez
Yellow Card47
9
ImmobileCiro Immobile
Goal10
Substitution58
8
KokeKoke
Yellow Card12
Substitution86
10
InsigneLorenzo Insigne
10
Thiago AlcántaraThiago Alcántara (C)
Goal6
Goal31
Goal38
13
BianchettiMatteo Bianchetti
11
TelloCristian Tello
Yellow Card27
Substitution71
19
ReginiVasco Regini
Yellow Card65
12
MorataÁlvaro Morata
Substitution80
20
BoriniFabio Borini
Goal80
18
MorenoAlberto Moreno
21
RossiFausto Rossi
22
IscoIsco
Goal66

Substitutes

22
LealiNicola Leali (GK)
13
MariñoDiego Mariño (GK)
12
ColombiSimone Colombi (GK)
23
JoelJoel (GK)
3
BiraghiCristiano Biraghi
4
NachoNacho
5
CapuanoMarco Capuano
9
RodrigoRodrigo
Substitution80
8
MarroneLuca Marrone
14
CamachoIgnacio Camacho
Substitution86
11
GabbiadiniManolo Gabbiadini
Substitution58
15
Marc MuniesaMarc Muniesa
14
DestroMattia Destro
16
ÁlvaroÁlvaro
15
SansoneNicola Sansone
17
SarabiaPablo Sarabia
16
BertolacciAndrea Bertolacci
19
MuniainIker Muniain
Substitution71
17
PaloschiAlberto Paloschi
20
CarvajalDaniel Carvajal
18
SaponaraRiccardo Saponara
Substitution58
21
Álvaro VázquezÁlvaro Vázquez
23
CrimiMarco Crimi
Substitution76
Yellow Card78

Coach

Devis Mangia (ITA) Julen Lopetegui (ESP)

Referee

Matej Jug (SVN)

Assistant referees

Roland Brandner (AUT), Vencel Tóth (HUN)

Fourth official

Ivan Bebek (CRO)

Additional assistant referees

Halis Özkahya (TUR), Ivan Kružliak (SVK)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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