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Spain into semi-finals with Netherlands draw

Spain 1-1 Netherlands
Damon Mirani's early own goal was cancelled out by a Pelle van Amersfoort penalty, but Spain still progressed as Group B runners-up.

Highlights: Spain 1-1 Netherlands

Spain earn point against Netherlands to reach semi-finals
Damon Mirani's early own goal gives Spain lead (8)
Pelle van Amersfoort levels from penalty spot (54)
Dutch unable to find winner and come third in Group B
Spain face Group A winners France in Thursday's semi-finals

Spain survived a second-half comeback from the Netherlands to reach the UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-finals, Damon Mirani's early own goal proving crucial despite Pelle van Amersfoort's penalty equaliser.

A point was enough for Spain to ensure progress while the Netherlands had to win – and that task became considerably harder with eight minutes on the clock. Some slick Spanish passing, which would become a feature of the evening, set Marco Asensio away down the right and Mirani diverted the cross high into his own net.

It took a stretching stop from Joël Drommel, with his right foot, to prevent Afonso Pedraza making it two from Dani Ceballos' pass shortly afterwards, as the Dutch struggled to contain the Spanish attack. The omnipresent Asensio curled a free-kick into the side netting and then shot straight at Drommel after skipping inside two tackles, before the goalkeeper got behind a Rodrigo Hernández header.

Drommel was exposed again three minutes before the interval as another quick-fire move gave Pedraza the chance to play in Borja Mayoral – the shot was two metres wide. It was clear something had to change for the Netherlands and Aron Winter duly brought on Tarik Kada and Augustine Loof at the break.

Moments later Van Amersfoort headed Leroy Owusu's cross over, but the Dutch had stirred. Nine minutes after the restart, Van Amersfoort was held back by Jorge Meré and kept his head to send Antonio Sivera the wrong way with the resulting penalty.

With the Netherlands pressing, Mayoral missed a golden chance to put Spain back in front, failing to connect properly with a long cross at the far post, but Spain nevertheless looked to have weathered the storm. Pedraza shot wide five minutes from time and, though the Netherlands piled forward in the closing stages, they have now been eliminated in the group stage on all three U19 finals appearances.


Luis de la Fuente, Spain coach
We are very happy to be back again in a semi-final of the European championship. We had to really battle; today we had to run, work hard, defend, not have much ball possession, but I am proud of this group of players because they worked and suffered as champions. Championships are won by going through several phases, holding on to the ball or conceding possession… But we had defensive balance and excellent tactical order. We didn't let them in our box and they were trying to create chances mainly through crosses.

Aron Winter, Netherlands coach
The first half we didn't play the way we want. Spain were waiting for us, waiting in a compact, and letting us have possession and we couldn't find any space. The second half we changed some things, put some more pressure on up front and controlled the game. At half-time I told the players to take the initiative, and they did that. We were a little bit unlucky, we only needed one more goal.

Overall we've played a good tournament – our only mistake was letting in a goal with a minute to go against Germany. It was a very tough group, everybody's got four points and overall with the players that we had – a lot of younger players – we've done well.