Spain keep their monopoly of the UEFA Women's Futsal EURO title going for a third edition.
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Spain eased to a 5-1 final victory against Ukraine at Fönix Arena in Debrecen to keep their monopoly of the UEFA Women's Futsal EURO title going for a third edition.
While Spain had beaten their 2019 and 2022 final opponents Portugal in Friday's semis, Ukraine edged out hosts Hungary to make the final for the first time. But they were behind almost instantly tonight and Spain seldom looked like giving up their crown.
Match in brief: Spain take treble chance
Spain beat Ukraine 9-0 during the 2022 semis in Gondomar, and Ukraine's hopes of keeping the holders at bay were dashed almost immediately when Iryna Dubytska fouled Dany and, just 13 seconds in, Peque converted from the spot for the fastest-ever finals goal. Ukraine responded well, though, testing Silvia Aguete more than once, with much of their inspiration coming from Anna Shulha, star of their semi-final defeat of hosts Hungary.
However, it was 2-0 when Irene Samper embarked on a run and her shot was deflected in by Taisiia Babenko. Ukraine kept pressing, but, just before the interval, Ale de Paz made it three on the break with a strong finish.
The second half began like the first. Just 26 seconds in, Peque found Samper on the right of the box, and she made no mistake. Although Ukraine remained determined and Shulha got a deserved consolation via a deflection, Dany soon added Spain's fifth, nabbing the ball inside her own half and rolling it into an empty net with the flying keeper committed.
Clàudia Pons, Spain coach: "We're very happy with this win and even more so because recent years haven't been easy. We worked so hard in the last year and this is the result of all that effort. I'm very proud of my players because they are always focused and never satisfied.
"The best way to handle the pressure of being the favourites is to be ourselves and that is just what we did tonight against Ukraine. We knew it wasn't going to be easy and, of course, scoring early was important, but we were the better team throughout the match. We never lost our focus and that made all the difference.
"These three titles are the just reward for the amazing job that is being done in the sport in Spain. Our league is very strong and that is reflected in the quality of our players. I couldn't be prouder or happier with this title."
Peque, Spain captain and Player of the Tournament: "I'm just hearing now for the first time I scored the fastest goal ever at the finals for the tournament! Of course, it was very important to score early and even more so because it broke Ukraine's spirits a bit as well as their will to surprise us tonight.
"To win a third Women's Futsal EURO is like a dream come true. Not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine I would be experiencing moments like this. We were focused from the start of the match and this team's character does not allow us to feel any pressure for being the favourites. Every single player gave it their all on the pitch and I think we truly deserve to lift the trophy. What a night!"
Oleg Shaytanov, Ukraine coach: "We wanted to show our best, to give Spain a good game, which isn't easy against such a strong team as the two-time champions. We'd like to congratulate Spain on winning their third EURO title.
"There wasn't any particular turning point in the match; we understood that each goal we conceded had an effect on the outcome and made our job just that bit harder. For us to be runners-up is a small victory. We are delighted to have done so well, and I'd like to thank my team."
Iuliia Forsiuk, Ukraine captain: "We're very happy: we've made history for Ukrainian women's futsal in reaching this final. To achieve this makes a dream I had as a little girl come true. We've put years of hard work into getting this far, and hopefully we've made many people happy today.
"Spain are an exceedingly strong team; they're European champions. Tactically, it's very difficult to play against them, but for me we did much better than we did last year against them. I believe we can do even better; let's see what the future brings."
- Spain goalkeepers Silvia Aguete and Marta Balvuena, along with Peque, Noelia, Luci, Mayte and Irene Samper, have been part of all three Spain titles, as has coach Clàudia Pons. Ale de Paz, Dany, María Sanz and twins Irene and Laura Córdoba were also in the 2022 team.
- Ale de Paz, who struck twice in the 2022 decider, is the first player to score in more than one final.
- Spain have now played 15 fixtures in this competition, including qualifying: they have won 14 of them in 40 minutes, and the other (the 2022 final) on penalties.
- Peque's penalty broke a two-day old record for fastest finals goal, which had been set by Carla Vanessa for Portugal against Spain 21 seconds into their last-four tie.
- Ukraine's Vira Diatel completed a unique double, having previously appeared at the final tournament of football's UEFA Women's EURO 2009.
Earlier at Fönix Arena, Portugal bounced back from the disappointment of their loss to Spain, the two-time runners-up defeating the hosts for bronze via a record finals win. Carla Vanessa got the first-ever finals hat-trick and also set new benchmarks for goals scored in a single final tournament (five), goals in a a single edition including qualifying (13), all-time finals goals (six) and all-time tournament goals including qualifying (23).