Ginés Meléndez believed mental fortitude was the decisive factor as Spain twice came from behind to defeat the Czech Republic, whose coach Jaroslav Hřebík was lost for words.
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Ginés Meléndez believed mental fortitude made the difference as his Spain side twice came from a goal down to win the UEFA European Under-19 Championship for the fifth time with a dramatic defeat of the Czech Republic in Chiajna. Meléndez, who has played a part in four of those triumphs, also had words of praise for his squad's strength in depth as Paco Alcácer came off the bench to win the trophy in extra time, while the beaten Jaroslav Hřebík was lost for words.
Ginés Meléndez, Spain coach
Firstly, I'd like to congratulate the Czech team and their coach, they played well and tactically they were very good, but in general we were much the better side. The first half was very evenly contested, we found it quite difficult to find spaces – we tried to create chances down the wings. A mistake led to their first goal but we played much better after the substitutions and we were on top in extra time.
We controlled it more or less throughout but in the first 20 minutes we had one or two problems. Mental strength is extremely important in a final to keep your composure, and perhaps we had problems there in the first 20 minutes. After the changes we caused more problems for their defence, especially down the wings, but I'd like to point to our mental strength as on two occasions we had to fight back from a goal down.
The Czechs knew how we play and what we were going to do; Paco coming on for Juanmi was foreseen in case Juanmi became a little tired, and with the quality and energy Paco has he helped win a game that perhaps otherwise was going to penalties.
It's a fifth U19 title for us and for that the coaches, the federation and the president are very proud. The players are extremely happy at the moment, and the coaching staff share that joy.
Jaroslav Hřebík, Czech Republic coach
What can you say in my position? Our game is based on high energy, pressure and physical activity. It was a pity that we went to extra time, we started to be a bit weak in those 30 minutes and we couldn't play like we did in the second half. Spain are such a high-quality team, every player is excellent, and that's the main reason they won.
Beforehand I asked my players what they would say before the championship that we would get to the final and that we would play Spain. They said that would have been great. I told them something similar before extra time, not to be nervous and that what would they have said if I'd told them we've had held Spain in check for much of the game and eventually take them to extra time. They said that would have been perfect. They were crying at the end, though, and there's nothing you can say then.