Slick Spain too strong for holders Germany

Germany 0-3 Spain Borja Mayoral, a penalty, and Matías Nahuel added to Mikel Merino's early goal as the six-time champions eased past the 2014 winners.

Watch all the goals from Spain's victory over defending champions Germany in Larissa.

Spain turn on the style against holders Germany in Group B
Mikel Merino fires Luis de la Fuente's side into early lead (8)
Borja Mayoral (72pen) and Matías Nahuel (90+3) secure points
Spain lose Afonso Pedraza to 90th-minute red card
Next games: Spain v Russia, Germany v Netherlands (10 July)

Six-time winners Spain marked their return to the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in fine style as goals from Mikel Merino, Borja Mayoral and Matías Nahuel secured an impressive victory against holders Germany.

In a high-quality first half, Spain – who did not qualify for the 2014 finals won so impressively by Germany – struck first. Marco Asensio's pass split the Germany defence, picking out Alfonso Pedraza on the left. The cut-back was half-blocked but fell perfectly for Merino to beat Marius Funk from ten metres.

Spain continued to look the more threatening, Rodrigo Hernández flicking on Asensio's free-kick and seeing the ball drift narrowly wide. Luis de la Fuente's side were getting plenty of joy down either flank, and from Mayoral's foray down the right Pedraza failed to connect with an attempted volley.

The roles were reversed as Pedraza delivered a cross Mayoral nodded just wide. Asensio, a metronomic presence in the Spain midfield, then came close to a second goal after a one-two with Mayoral; the shot from the area was a metre off target.

Germany had their moments in the first half, with Leroy Sané twice threatening, and Spain goalkeeper Antonio Sivera was called into action for the first time either side of the hour, blocking from Nadiem Amiri and substitute Luca Waldschmidt. By then, however, Germany might have been two goals in arrears.

Borja's cross picked out Pedraza unmarked five metres out, but the No17 headed over. Mayoral then laid the ball back for Hernández and a powerful strike stung Funk's palms. Germany, however, would not be so fortunate with 18 minutes remaining.

Dani Ceballos' pass split the defence and Mayoral beat the advancing Funk to the ball, going down under the goalkeeper's challenge. The Spain forward picked himself up to clip the spot kick into the net.

Spain lost Pedraza to a 90th-minute red card for a lunge on Jonas Föhrenbach, but no matter. In added time, Nahuel strode on to Borja's long pass and rounded Funk to complete a memorable win.

Reaction

Marcus Sorg, Germany coach
I would like to congratulate the Spanish side and their coach Luis de la Fuente on their win. In the first half we ran a lot and did not get anywhere. In the second half we were more aggressive with the ball and had two or three chances to get back into the game. If we'd of managed to take one of those we would have been back in it, but then it was a mistake which made it 2-0 and it's hard to get back into a match against Spain from two goals down. We tried, but it's a shame we then conceded the third because I don't think we deserved to lose so heavily.

Luis de la Fuente, Spain coach
I am very good friends with the German coach and I would like to congratulate him on the team he's got – we gave a lot to beat them and this makes it all the more important. We had an excellent first half in which we were technically excellent and were in control of the game.

We were very dangerous when we went forward and attacked their defence. We knew that Germany are very creative and want to take the initiative. They like to play with a lot of width so we wanted to hold the ball as much as we could and play fast counterattacks, but that was not easy as we were up against a very good-quality team.

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