Laura Gutiérrez is one of the five Spain players who endured last year's final defeat by Germany and is therefore doubly determined to overcome the Republic of Ireland on Saturday.
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Defender Laura Gutiérrez believes experience could be key to Spain winning the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship on Saturday.
Jorge Vilda's squad features five veterans of the Spanish campaign that ended in defeat by Germany in last year's final here in Nyon. Now that quintet, led by captain Amanda Sampedro and including FC Barcelona player Gutiérrez, are back at the Colovray stadium for a second attempt at landing the European crown – this time against Germany's semi-final conquerors the Republic of Ireland.
The 16-year-old Gutiérrez, a versatile defender who operated at right-back in Spain's last-four win against the Netherlands on Tuesday, is ready to guide her greener team-mates through the process of playing a European Championship final. "The five of us from last year know what this kind of tournament is about, and what we do is help the others, give them advice and support them," she said. "Ultimately, though, we have to treat tomorrow like just another game."
Having been on the wrong side of a 7-0 scoreline in last June's showpiece match, Gutiérrez is also eager to grab this opportunity at redemption. "We are thinking only about the final," the No5 said. "We expect it to be a tough game but we really want to bring the trophy back to Spain."
Vilda's team not only caught the eye in Tuesday's 3-0 semi-final success against the Netherlands; they had been impressive in seeing off first Serbia, Armenia and Russia, and then Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland in their two qualifying round groups. "We are very confident about our chances," Gutiérrez continued. "We have a very solid group, unity is the key word. To reach this final we have gone through three phases. It has roughly been the same group of players, so we all know each other very well. We all support each other."
The full-back also praised the contribution of coach Vilda, the 28-year-old who took over this season from his father Ángel. "He has been following his father's footsteps and philosophy. He is doing a good job. It is his first year at the helm and he can be proud of getting to the final at the first attempt and with the work he has done for us."