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Under-19 final preview: Spain v Russia

Nine days after Russia beat Spain 3-1 in Group B, the teams meet again in Katerini for the final, with Spain seeking a seventh Under-19 crown and Russia their first.

Spain captain Jesús Vallejo (left) and coach Luis de la Fuente (second left) with Russia coach Dmitri Khomukha and captain Anton Mitryushkin
Spain captain Jesús Vallejo (left) and coach Luis de la Fuente (second left) with Russia coach Dmitri Khomukha and captain Anton Mitryushkin ©Sportsfile

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• Russia's 3-1 defeat of Spain on matchday two was the teams' first competitive U19 meeting.

• Georgi Melkadze was in the Russia side that drew 1-1 with Spain in the 2013/14 UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round, Jorge Meré playing for Spain with Aaron Caricol an unused substitute. Neither side reached the finals, however, Russia finishing second and Spain third.

• Fernando Morientes scored Spain's second goal in a 4-2 group stage defeat of Russia at the 1994 European U18 Championship; Spain went on to finish third, Russia fifth.

• Russia qualified for the 2000 U18 finals at Spain's expense, winning 2-1 at home after a 0-0 away draw in a two-legged intermediary round tie.

The final coaches with the trophy
The final coaches with the trophy©Sportsfile

U19 final pedigree
Russia: W0 L0

Spain W6 L1
2012: Spain 1-0 Greece
2011: Czech Republic 2-3 Spain (aet)
2010: France 2-1 Spain
2007: Spain 1-0 Greece
2006: Scotland 1-2 Spain
2004: Turkey 0-1 Spain
2002: Spain 1-0 Germany

Luis de la Fuente, coach
We're very excited to be in this final, and that's how we're approaching it. We're coming towards the end of our very hard work and we're counting the hours down until the match. My players are ready to enjoy it; they're very motivated and in fantastic condition. We're ready for this.

Russia are a very good team – 4-0 in a semi-final might seem a big result, especially against a team as good as Greece, but we know Russia are very strong and we know their characteristics. Physically they're very strong, and they're quick; their main assets are their compact style and team spirit.

We'll approach the game using the tactics that best suit us. The most important is for us to be true to our own style. Physically we're better than we were at the start of the tournament and now it's one match left – we'll give it our all.

Jesús Vallejo, captain
We're very excited and we can't wait for the referee's whistle to start the match. I was surprised at how big Russia's semi-final win was, because this tournament has been very even. We had to work very hard to get past France but we won't worry about the semi-final now; we'll give it our best shot.

Spain captain Jesús Vallejo (left) with Russia counterpart Anton Mitryushkin
Spain captain Jesús Vallejo (left) with Russia counterpart Anton Mitryushkin©Sportsfile

Dmitri Khomukha, coach
We're expecting a wonderful match between the two strongest teams in the tournament. Spain are the favourites: they have very strong players and that will make it an interesting game. They're a bright, attacking team with great individuals. Finals are always tough but we're confident in our abilities and hope to make them count for us.

Of course the team has become more balanced [since winning the 2013 European U17 Championship] with more games together. Winning that was a great experience. We have talented players, and we've been working with this group of players for five years – that's led to these results.

This will be a totally different game to the group match – both teams will give their maximum to win. The team that deals with the pressure better will come out on top.

Anton Mitryushkin, Russia captain
We're really motivated. We've beaten Spain once and we'll try to do it again; we're confident in our skills and we'll give our best. We've not come to Greece to relax; we've been here to work and we're motivated and confident for the final.

Watch Russia beat Spain in group stage

Tournament so far

Germany 0-3 Spain
Spain 1-3 Russia
Spain 1-1 Netherlands
Semi-final: France 0-2 Spain

Netherlands 1-0 Russia
Spain 1-3 Russia
Russia 2-2 Germany
Russia 4-0 Greece

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