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Heartache for England as Spain stride into final

Spain 3-0 England
Andrea Sánchez scored twice and Pilar Garrote got another as Spain swept the hosts aside to earn their fourth final appearance.

Heartache for England as Spain stride into final
Heartache for England as Spain stride into final ©UEFA.com

Spain ended the hopes of hosts England with a 3-0 victory that secured their fourth UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final appearance.

Jorge Vilda's two-time winners took a 16th-minute lead through Andrea Sánchez and confirmed their triumph in the second half as Pilar Garrote and Sánchez again found the net. Spain's reward is a final in Chesterfield on Sunday against a Germany side they beat 4-0 in the group stage. On the same day Lois Fidler's England will return to this stadium to face Italy in the play-off for third place and a ticket to next year's FIFA Women's U-17 World Cup.

Spain gave England early notice of their menace when Núria Garrote smashed a shot against the crossbar after six minutes. The same player created the breakthrough goal by swinging in a cross from the right, Sánchez applying a wonderfully controlled volleyed finish as the ball dropped at her feet.

In the main stand the England band kept playing, but Spain were controlling the tempo on the field. Nahikari García crashed a header against the near post, while Mollie Rouse and Leah Williamson both produced timely interventions to foil Spanish forays.

At the other end, Spain were without suspended centre-back Silvia Mérida, meaning Rocío Gálvez came into the team for her first start of the finals, but their defence was largely untroubled, Elena De Toro making her first save – a routine stop from Atlanta Primus's low shot – just after the half-hour.

The second half opened with Primus forcing another save from De Toro, but Spain's threat only grew. Sánchez held off Williamson and drove a shot against the crossbar and it was 2-0 when Williamson headed a corner only as far as Garrote, who returned the ball with interest from the edge of the box, her shot flying past goalkeeper Kirstie Levell with the help of a deflection.

Levell saved at the feet of García after the little forward skipped through, but she was beaten again in the closing moments as Sánchez struck straight from a corner for her fourth goal of the tournament, leaving her as the joint-leading scorer alongside Germany's Jasmin Sehan.