UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Spain secure record third U17 EURO title

Spain made it a hat-trick of UEFA European Under-17 Championship triumphs, ten years on from their first, after a penalty shoot-out victory over England in Croatia.

Spain secure record third U17 EURO title
Spain secure record third U17 EURO title ©UEFA.com

Spain won a record third UEFA European Under-17 Championship title when they defeated England 4-1 on spot kicks in Varazdin, northern Croatia.

For the fifth time in six years, penalties were required to settle the final. It brought a thrilling climax both to the 2017 tournament and to a match that had finished 2-2 moments earlier thanks to substitute Nacho Díaz's header in the sixth additional minute. 

Spain's Abel Ruiz holds two U17 EURO records
Spain's Abel Ruiz holds two U17 EURO records©Sportsfile

Twelve months after being on the losing side against Portugal in Azerbaijan, Spain captain Abel Ruiz – who in the course of the finals became the competition's all-time leading appearance maker (24) and scorer (16), qualifying included – hoisted the trophy aloft after Víctor Chust converted the winner in a shoot-out conducted in accordance with an International Football Association Board (IFAB) trial centred around changing the order of kicks. 

The Iberian nation completed their hat-trick of titles ten years after a team featuring Bojan Krkić and David de Gea landed Spain's first U17 silverware, also at England's expense. Spain, triumphant again in 2008, moved ahead of their opponents and four other countries with two victories to their name (France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Russia) on the competition's roll of honour.

At the other end of the scale, the Faroe Islands were in a UEFA finals for the first time, coach Áki Johansen describing their qualification as "sensational". The Faroes finished bottom of Group B after three defeats. Fellow U17 EURO newcomers Norway and the Croatian hosts fared only slightly better, managing a solitary point in Groups D and A respectively.

Johansen's charges were on the end of a 7-0 loss to France, the biggest-ever win in a U17 EURO finals subsequently matched by Germany against the Republic of Ireland. Jann-Fiete Arp registered his second hat-trick of the tournament in the latter game, having struck three times in 13 minutes during a 5-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina in Germany's Group C opener.

Ireland, despite such an emphatic reverse, qualified for the knockout stage on goals scored in a three-way head-to-head involving themselves, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Germany, like England in Group D, collected maximum points.

France's Amine Gouiri outscored everyone. Seven of the Lyon forward's eight goals – an all-time record-equalling total for these finals first posted in 2015 by Odsonne Edouard and, over two tournaments, Ruiz – came in the group stage versus Hungary, the Faroes and Scotland.

France No9 Amine Gouiri was in prolific form
France No9 Amine Gouiri was in prolific form©Sportsfile

However, Gouiri's U17 EURO ended as France succumbed 3-1 to Spain in the last eight, although he was on target in their FIFA U-17 World Cup play-off success over Hungary. 

The margin of victory in the other three quarter-finals was slender, with England (1-0 v Republic of Ireland), Germany (2-1 v Netherlands) and Turkey (1-0 v Hungary) edging through and securing a 2017 World Cup spot in India in the process.

The semi-finals were also tight. Jadon Sancho's fifth goal at Croatia 2017 helped England past Turkey (2-1), while Spain got the better of Germany on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

The third U17 EURO final between Spain and England, after 2007 and 2010, did not disappoint. When Phil Foden put England 2-1 up just before the hour, Steve Cooper's side were not only on course for a 12th successive win in this season's edition but a third title of their own.

Díaz, though, changed all that at the last and, just as they had done at the same venue three nights before, Spain held their nerve from the spot.