"This is the moment of truth," says the Spain midfielder ahead of his second U21 EURO final against Germany.
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Despite being crowned Player of the Tournament, Spain midfielder Dani Ceballos was on the losing side in Krakow against Germany in 2017; the Real Madrid star sat down with UEFA.com to discuss the 2019 rerun in Udine, Italy.
Dani, congratulations. How does it feel to be in the final?
Thank you very much. The most important thing for Spain was to be in this final on Sunday and now we're just one step away from achieving the goal we set for ourselves when we came into the camp a month ago. This is the moment of truth.
You lost the first game of the tournament 3-1 to Italy. What did the coach say after that and what changes did he make?
The key match for us was that defeat against Italy. It was a tough blow for us, but after that I think what the manager wanted from us would start to show in the next match. From then we started to play well against Belgium. Our objective was to score more than three goals against Poland, and that was a great match. Against France we played a very solid game with a good dynamic. So I think we've improved gradually in this tournament.
Two years ago you lost in the final against Germany. What memories do you have of that match?
It's true, those are bad memories but football gives you second chances. I think God has been fair with us and has given us a final against Germany again after two years, which we want to win but with a lot of respect for them because they're the current champions and have had a magnificent tournament.
You're a different team now, with different players and a new coach, but they'll have a different team as well. What type of game are you expecting?
It's going to be a tactical match. Both teams are physically very good. I don't think there'll be any margin for error. It's a moment to enjoy, a unique match that we probably won't get to experience again. These are 90 minutes in which we need to give everything to be champions.
What would you say are your best qualities as a player?
Whenever I step onto the pitch, my best quality is getting people to enjoy the game and feeling good about myself. With great sacrifice, I've been improving many things. I'm in good form right now, but I need to keep myself on that upward trajectory in order to keep going in the right direction.
What are the strengths of this Spanish team?
We're not just a squad, we're a team. It's very difficult to shape such a good and united group like this in 30 days. It's clear that a defeat against Belgium would've made us a bit doubtful, but we were able to overcome it and started growing from then on. We're heading into a historical moment; we could equal Italy's record of five European Championships so it's time for Spain to be champions.