Torres sparkles for Spain

Fernando Torres was the hero for Spain with four goals in Norway and the final winner against Germany to secure the first U19 title.

After a history of Under-18 tournaments stretching back to 1948, and 18 UEFA European U18 Championships over more than 20 years, the competition was reclassified as a U19 event for 2001/02. However, the format was unchanged from the last U18 event - a 14-group preliminary round with the winners progressing to seven two-legged play-offs for finals places alongside the hosts, Norway, staging their first men's European competition.

The final tournament began miserably for host nation, as they fell 5-1 to Slovakia, with Nelly Viennot running the line to become the first female official at a male UEFA tournament. Elsewhere in Group A the Czechs drew 1-1 with Spain. Two days later Slovakia overcame their Czech neighbours 5-2 while Spain defeated the hosts 3-0. With only the group winners to go through, Spain now had to defeat the Slovakians, and did just that by a 3-1 scoreline. The Czechs won 1-0 against Norway to finish third and join Slovakia and Spain in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Group B began dramatically as Philipp Lahm and Mike Hanke scored in added time to salvage a 3-3 draw for Germany against England. Ireland overcame Belgium 2-1 but then fell 3-0 to Germany, as England were again denied victory late on in a 1-1 draw with Belgium. Germany were in pole position, and defeated Belgium 2-1 to set up a final against Spain. Ireland secured second place as they overturned a 2-0 half-time deficit against England to prevail 3-2. However, England did pip Belgium to the World Championship.

In the third-place play-off Slovakia came from behind to defeat Ireland 2-1. That was followed at Oslo's Ullevål stadium by the decider, and in front of 16,464 spectators Fernando Torres struck on 55 minutes to give Spain the title 1-0 and leave himself as finals top scorer with four goals.

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