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U17 EURO final preview: Spain v England

Spain or England will become UEFA European Under-17 Championship winners for a record third time when they go head to head in the 2017 final in Varazdin on Friday.

Spain captain Abel Ruiz (left), coach Santi Denia, England's Steven Cooper and skipper Marc Guehi
Spain captain Abel Ruiz (left), coach Santi Denia, England's Steven Cooper and skipper Marc Guehi ©Sportsfile
  • Spain and England meet in a UEFA European Under-17 Championship final for third time
  • La Roja defeated England for their first title in 2007; England overcame Spain in 2010
  • Both nations are two-time U17 EURO winners – no team has three victories to their name
  • Spain are in a record seventh final at this level, England their fourth
  • Captain Abel Ruiz was in the Spain side beaten on penalties by Portugal in the 2016 final
  • England have won all 11 of their matches in the 2016/17 competition

Possible line-ups
Spain: Fernández; Morey, Guillamón, Chust, Miranda; Blanco, Moha, Sergio Gómez; Torres, Ruiz, Orellana.

England: Bursik; Eyoma, Guehi, Panzo, Gibson; Foden, McEachran, Denny; Hudson-Odoi, Brewster, Sancho.
: Tashan Oakley-Boothe (head injury)

Where to watch
Fans can find their local UEFA European Under-17 Championship broadcast partner(s) here

Santi Denia, Spain coach
England have a complete team and a lot quality that I haven't seen for a while in them. We have to be strong in attack and defence, be focused and work as a group. This England team demands perfection from us.

We're focused on how to win this tournament, not what has gone before in previous years [Spain having not won this title since 2008]. It would be really big for Spain to triumph again and that's what we'll try to do against a very tough side.

Steve Cooper, England coach
Joel Latibeaudiere is with us now [added to the squad after the semi-final injury to Oakely-Boothe], but in terms of selection and game plan, who replaces Tashan is something we haven't decided. I've said from day one that it's about everyone in the squad playing their part. Whatever team we put out, we really believe in each other.

We've prepared as normal. This is our sixth game of an intense couple of weeks and the biggest test comes with the occasion of the final. We really respect Spain's qualities, but we'll have a plan and be ready to go.

Form guide in Croatia (most recent first)
Spain: DWDWW
England: WWWWW

Reporter's view: Wayne Harrison
Having named the same XI for each of England's five fixtures in Croatia, Cooper will be forced into a change. Who comes in for midfielder Tashan Oakley-Boothe, knocked out in the first half of the semi-final against Turkey, remains to be seen. Alexander Denny did so on Tuesday, but Cooper has since drafted in Manchester City centre-back Joel Latibeaudiere, himself not long back from injury. 

Jadon Sancho has five goals and four assists in Croatia
Jadon Sancho has five goals and four assists in Croatia©Sportsfile

Full-backs Mateu Morey and Juan Miranda, both impressive versus France in the last eight, provide Spain's width. Whether they will be as forward-thinking against Callum Hudson-Odoi and, in particular, Jadon Sancho is another thing, however. The battle for supremacy on the flanks will be fascinating.   

Did you know?
• Midfielder George McEachran is striving to emulate his brother, Josh, who was in the England side that won the 2010 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. England's opponents in the final? Spain.

• Ruiz, the record appearance maker in U17 EURO history with 23 outings, requires one more goal to become the competition's all-time leading scorer, qualifying included. The Barcelona forward is tied with Portugal's José Gomes on 16.

• In 2007 Spain also won their semi-final on penalties and went on to play (and beat) England in the final.