Spain's players were in bouyant mood following their 1-0 victory against Greece in Linz that esnured the holders defended the UEFA European Under-19 Championship title they won last year in Poland.
The match at the Linzer Stadion was decided by Daniel Parejo's opportunist free-kick in the 38th minute and the Real Madrid CF midfielder was understandably as delighted as anyone about Spain's triumph in Austria. "It's a great feeling to score the goal that has won the game and made us champions," he said. Describing the goal, where he bent in a free-kick from the left side of the penalty area to catch Greece goalkeeper Kyriakos Stratilatis by surprise, he explained: "I noticed that the goalkeeper was standing away from his post so I decided to go for it and luckily for me it went in."
Stand-in captain César Azpilicueta was similarly happy, adding: "I was very satisfied with the game and the way the team played and I'm very happy that we managed to win. Greece are a very good team and it was a very hard game for me and for the whole team but in the end it was Spain who have the trophy." César replaced Javier Martínez after the regular skipper was booked in Spain's semi-final win against France. Martínez was one of three players to miss the final along with Ángel Montoro, who was also banned, and injured goalkeeper Felipe Ramos but César did not forget his absent team-mates in his moment of glory, saying: "I hope that they can celebrate with the team."
Arguably Spain's star performers in Austria, forward Aarón Ñíguez, was also full of smiles at the final whistle. "I am very happy because we are champions," he said. "It was very hard for us in the last few minutes because Greece had us in some difficulties. The semi-final against France caught up with us a bit tonight and this was why we were a bit tired in the second half. It is the first time I have been a champion with a national team so right now I could not be happier. This is the greatest feeling I have experienced in football. I am only 19 but it is a night I will remember for the whole of my life."
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