Alcácer acknowledges Meléndez's magic touch

Having struck twice to take the UEFA European Under-19 Championship trophy to Spain permanently, Paco Alcácer revealed how coach Ginés Meléndez had inspired his exploits.

Match winner Paco Alcácer shows off the silverware after Spain's final triumph
Match winner Paco Alcácer shows off the silverware after Spain's final triumph ©Sportsfile

Spain forward Paco Alcácer revealed he was simply following orders when coming off the bench to score twice in his team's 3-2 UEFA European Under-19 Championship final triumph over the Czech Republic.

Trailing to Ladislav Krejčí's 52nd-minute goal in Chiajna, Ginés Meléndez's charges forced extra time when Jon Aurtenetxe diverted into the net five minutes from time. Patrik Lácha put the Czechs back in front in the 97th minute but La Rojita came again, second-half substitute Alcácer producing a pair of assured finishes, the second in the 115th minute, to take the trophy to Spain.

"The  coach showed he had faith in me by making the change when he did," Alcácer told UEFA.com. "Before going on he said, 'Get out there and score'. After that I just did what I know how to do. Ginés is a great coach and I tried to give my all for him. In the end, thanks to my team-mates, I was able to find the net twice."

Describing the Czechs as "a really good side," the No11 believed Spain had had to show immense character to peg back Jaroslav Hřebík's team. "They were well clued up on how we play," he said. "We began by going behind tonight but with our spirit and our pride we managed to reverse our fortunes a couple of times before going on to win the final. A comfortable victory is always welcome but it's not such a bad thing to win the way we did either; to fight from 1-0 and then 2-1 down was something really special."

Top scorer with six goals at last year's UEFA European Under-17 Championship, where Spain finished runners-up, Alcácer brought his tally in this year's U19 finals to three having previously netted in the Group B opener against Belgium. "I feel I am a born goalscorer but the hero tonight was the entire Spanish set-up, not me," the Valencia CF forward said. "From the goalkeeper all the way up to the attackers and from there to the training and coaching staff, everyone has helped out in this championship."

The fact that Spain will now keep the trophy after their fifth win at this level prompted Alcácer to explain the pride among his team-mates at a "huge achievement". "We have done really well in this championship and our victory was well deserved," he said. "It was a very tough tournament and so to win it has made us all very happy. It's a source of real pleasure to know that this trophy is now staying in the [Royal Spanish] Football Federation's trophy cabinet. All that's left to do now is to celebrate."

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