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Spain produced a dominant display to reach their second straight UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final.
Just as 12 months ago when Spain beat Norway 2-0 in the last four here in Nyon, Amanda Sampedro opened the scoring. Early in the second half Raquel Pinel doubled the lead and just before the end substitute Paloma Lazaro confirmed victory, earning a decider with second semi-final winners the Republic of Ireland on Saturday.
Jorge Vilda's Spain side had by far the better of the opening half-hour. Captain Sampedro was a live-wire threat with her skill and bursts through from midfield, and her fine shot fizzed just wide early on. Sara Mérida also sent a drive narrowly past the post and her corner was nearly turned in by Sampedro.
It was no surprise when Spain finally went in front on 32 minutes. Raquel Pinel's fierce 20-metre effort was pushed out by Netherlands goalkeeper Robbin Huisman, but Sampredo was there to control the ball and shoot home from close range. The Netherlands rearguard, with skipper Kelly Zeeman prominent, had fought hard to stem the Spanish tide before their defences were finally breached but they created few threats of their own.
After the break Huismann pulled down an effort from Iraia Perez de Heredia, and the impressive Alexia Putellas Segura curled a free-kick wide as Spain threatened again. There were signs of a Netherlands revival in several dangerous counterattacks, but in the 52nd minute Pinel broke away to shoot from the edge of the area, the ball squeezing through Huisman's hands and bouncing into the net despite the keeper's desperate attempts to clear.
The Netherlands never stopped trying, but a comeback was beyond them and a Lazaro goal in added time completed Spain's perfect day. They are assured of a place in the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago in September; the Netherlands, never before beaten in a fixture in this competition despite never having previously got this far, will join them if they win Saturday's third-place play-off.
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