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'Exceptional' Spain thrill Vilda

Jorge Vilda described his Spain side as an "exceptional group of people" after their final win against the Republic of Ireland, whose manager Noel King was full of pride for his side's run.

'Exceptional' Spain thrill Vilda
'Exceptional' Spain thrill Vilda ©UEFA.com

Spain coach Jorge Vilda said his team's UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship triumph was reward for "all the hard work put in both by the girls and by the coaching staff".

The 28-year-old, son of Ángel Vilda who guided Spain to runners-up last year, watched his side overcome a valiant Republic of Ireland side 4-1 on penalties after a goalless scoreless draw. Noel King is the first to coach an Ireland side in a major women's final, and described his reaction as "pride, enjoyment and delight" before setting sights on September's FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago.

Jorge Vilda, Spain coach
We really wanted to win this trophy after last year when we produced an almost perfect campaign only to lose the final heavily, a real sucker punch. So this year we were both determined and excited and, in the end, we achieved our goal. Again this season, the girls gave an impeccable performance in qualifying and we've now had the good fortune to win a final. But more than luck, this success is reward for all the hard work put in both by the girls and coaching staff, and I'd say we've deserved this championship. Today it went down to penalties, and penalties are never fair, but overall I would argue that justice was done.

We have brought together an exceptional group of people, better than I've ever experienced before and it's rare to get this in any walk of life. As well as being a great team, they are a great group of girls and they get on really well with all the staff. I've also been able to pick from about 25 really top players – it was difficult to whittle them down to 18 for this squad. When you have a great set of players who are really nice girls, and when you train well all year and enjoy the various trips you make for matches, a final result like this is the icing on the cake.

Noel King, Republic of Ireland manager
My reaction is one of pride, one of enjoyment and delight in the performance of the Irish team. I'm not downhearted as we've matched a very good team. Spain are terrific, very technical. We have a different style of play and we held them out. We rode our luck a few times but I couldn't ask for any more from that bunch of Irish girls. They were brave, honest and skilful.

The girls came here to learn and they haven't lost which is amazing – they're definitely the first Irish team to do that. They are sick now but we will get them going for Trinidad. They have won a silver medal, which has never been achieved before, and they have the World Cup in Trinidad to look forward to, and another couple of months' preparation to build on what they have done here. They have learned a lot and I know we can be even better. But overall this is one of the greatest days for Irish women's football and, indeed, for Irish football.