The 3-0 dismantling of holders Germany was evidence of Spain's "spectacular" side according to forward Borja Mayoral – who wants more of the same next time.
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If one match can be considered as a sign of intentions, then Spain have emphatically stated that they are aiming high in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Greece.
Six-time winners of the tournament but absent from the 2014 finals, La Rojita recorded a 3-0 Group B victory over holders Germany at the AEL FC Arena in Larissa on Tuesday, although that scoreline belied a high-tempo match. "The scoreline suggests that we breezed through the encounter – far from it," forward Borja Mayoral told UEFA.com. "It took a huge effort, we gave it everything we had and we're very happy to win our opening match."
Mayoral converted a 72nd-minute penalty to put Spain 2-0 up in Larissa, taking his tally to seven goals for the U19s overall and five in this season's competition, qualifying included. "Scoring is always a confidence-booster for any player," the Real Madrid CF attacker explained. "I hadn't scored in recent matches and I was very conscious of this, so the goal was very good for my morale. Moreover, the collective effort and the work of the whole team will help us in our upcoming games."
The impressive dismantling of the 2014 champions built on Spain's three elite round wins – the last a 4-0 defeat of Portugal – with Mayoral describing the matchday one affair as "a job well done". "We played a great game," he added. "It was very difficult because Germany are the toughest opponents out there, but we have a spectacular side – and we showed it.
"It was a very demanding match in terms of tactics and physical effort and the whole squad responded admirably. I feel very comfortable playing alongside such great team-mates. Being flanked by players from the Primera and Segunda División is a privilege for me, more so in my position as forward, and I thoroughly enjoy it."
Having missed out on last year's tournament, Spain made a positive start to this year's finals courtesy of Mikel Merino's eighth-minute opener. "Taking the lead early was very important," Mayoral acknowledged. "Merino's goal allowed us to play the game we wanted and use the tactics we'd planned. Afterwards we defended very well and took advantage of the chances we created."
It took until 18 minutes from time for the clinching second goal to arrive, however, Mayoral holding his nerve to beat Marius Funk from the spot having been brought down by the goalkeeper. His penalty was clipped straight down the middle after the keeper had moved, Mayoral noting: "In such high-intensity matches, you get nervous and aiming for the corners can be difficult and risky. That's why it's better to go for the middle."
Having spent a fortnight preparing for the finals back home, Luis de la Fuente and his squad look well set for another shot at the U19 crown, so just how far can they go? "We have clear ideas about our game and aspirations," said Mayoral. "Spain are always aiming to win every match. Our intentions are reflected on the pitch. Beating Germany was the best possible start to the tournament and now we have to back up this result by winning against Russia as well. We're all ready to face them with the same will and determination."