Germany secure second title in Hungary
Germany won the UEFA European Under-19 Championship for the second time, beating Portugal by a single goal in the Budapest final to add to their 2008 crown.
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Germany won the UEFA European Under-19 Championship for the second time with some impressive displays in Hungary, a single goal proving enough to see off Portugal in the Budapest decider.
In the finals for the first time since 2008 – when they also lifted the trophy, in the Czech Republic – Marcus Sorg's team won four of their five matches, Hany Mukhtar's 39th-minute effort inflicting a second final defeat on Portugal. The decider was also notable for being the first finals match in which Germany striker Davie Selke failed to find the net. However, with six goals for the tournament – equalling Álvaro Morata's U19 best from 2010/11 – and 11 for the season (equalling the competition record) there was still plenty for the SV Werder Bremen forward to celebrate.
A number of big names were eliminated in qualifying, most notably six-time champions Spain – ousted on home soil by Germany – while 2013 runners-up France did not even survive to the elite round, losing out to Iceland in the first qualifying stage. England also failed to make the final tournament.
Group B included three former champions and both matchday one fixtures featured a first-minute goal. While holders Serbia fought back to draw with 2009 winners Ukraine – also back in the finals for the first time since that victory – Selke and Germany started as they meant to go on, beating Bulgaria 3-0. Germany needed an added-time goal from captain Niklas Stark to snatch a draw with Serbia next time out, but a 2-0 victory over Ukraine made sure of their place at the head of the group, Serbia joining them in the semi-finals thanks to Staniša Mandić's 90th-minute clincher against Bulgaria, who ended bottom having also lost to Ukraine.
Portugal and Austria made short work of Group A, both overcoming Hungary and Israel to book semi-final spots with a match to spare; André Silva became the first player to score four in a U19 finals game in Portugal's 6-1 thrashing of the hosts and would finish with five goals for the finals – level with Selke on 11 for the whole championship, including qualifying. Hungary at least signed off on a positive note, reaching the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup by defeating Israel, while Portugal's 2-1 success against Austria took them through as section winners.
Austria proved no match for Germany in the last four, however, another Selke goal – his sixth in four finals appearances – setting Sorg's side on their way to a 4-0 triumph in Budapest. The second semi-final was an altogether tighter affair; in 2013 it had taken penalties to separate Serbia and Portugal, and it was the same again after a goalless 120 minutes in Felcsut. This time, though, it was Portugal who were rejoicing courtesy of a 4-3 triumph – yet the last word would go to Germany.