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Slick Spain ease into final

Spain 3-1 England
Goals from Daniel Pacheco, Keko and Sergio Canales earned an impressive Spain team their place in Friday's Under-19 final.

Slick Spain ease into final
Slick Spain ease into final ©UEFA.com

Spain remain on course for a fifth UEFA European Under-19 Championship title after Luis Milla's side defeated England 3-1 in Tuesday's first semi-final.

Daniel Pacheco and skipper Keko set La Roja on their way to a fourth successive victory at the final tournament with goals on 12 and 34 minutes in Saint-Lo. Although John Bostock's thumping volley reduced England's arrears soon after, Sergio Canales capped a dominant performance for Spain with his team's third just before the hour.

England had hoped to reach a second successive U19 final having gone all the way in Ukraine last year before eventually succumbing to the hosts. Things began promisingly in the opening minutes for Noel Blake's men with Nathan Delfouneso powering down the left before centring for Ryan Donaldson to glance a header goalwards which FC Barcelona goalkeeper Álex directed wide.

The four-time winners soon found their rhythm, however, and following an incisive build-up Oriol Romeu fed Keko, whose goalbound shot was pushed over by Declan Rudd. It was not long before the England No1 was picking the ball from his net, though, and Pacheco was the player responsible, scoring his fourth of the finals after being supplied by Canales from the right.

As Spain continued to control possession, England were unfortunate to lose defender Nathan Baker to injury in the 17th minute. Their problems worsened, however, when Spain doubled their lead with Keko rounding off a one-touch move involving Thiago Alcántara and Canales. Milla's side then dropped down a gear and were made to pay when substitute Bostock thumped in an unstoppable left-foot volley from the edge of the area eight minutes before the break.

Spain emerged refocused for the second half and should have extended their advantage when Rodrigo found himself one on one with Rudd only to head harmlessly wide. Then, shortly before the hour mark, a move straight from the training ground had the majority of the 4,326 supporters inside the Stade Louis Villemer in raptures. Standing over a free-kick on the perimeter of the box, Spain's Thiago and Pacheco seemed to be waiting for Oriol's run-up. Instead a clever flick from Thiago caught the England wall, and defence, out and found Canales's penetrative run through the centre – the recent Real Madrid CF signing made no mistake. There would be no way back for England after that.