UEFA Women's U17 EURO final preview: Spain vs France
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Spain, in a record tenth final, aim for a fifth title as France look for their first EURO crown in Tallinn on Friday.
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Spain face France in Friday's UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final at Lilleküla Stadium in Tallinn.
WU17 EURO final at a glance
When: 18:00 CET (19:00 local time), Friday 26 May
Where: Lilleküla Stadium, Tallinn, Estonia
What: UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final
How to follow: Build-up and live coverage can be found here
Where to watch: See the list of broadcasters, or watch live on UEFA.tv in most territories
Spain, only denied on penalties by Germany in last year's dramatic Sarajevo final, have made it once again after another impressive run. They won every game in qualifying, beat Germany 2-0 on Matchday 1, and their most nervy moment did not arrive until Tuesday's Lilleküla Stadium semi-final against England. Spain were pegged back to 1-1 after half-time and only won 3-1 with two late goals, making the decider for a record tenth time in the 14 editions.
Vicky López, set to captain Spain on Friday, is set for her second straight final having also starred last year but missed the decisive shoot-out penalty against Germany. She went on to be player of the tournament as Spain won the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in India, a competition in which 2023 squad members Ainhoa Alguacil and Cristina Librán were also involved.
France, however, can have high hopes of being only the fourth different nation to win this title, having lost their previous three finals. They comfortably came through the group stage and in a stunning semi-final performance defeated a team they lost to in qualifying, Switzerland, 10-2. Maeline Mendy's hat-trick and two from Chancelle Effa Effa meant both moved level with England's Michelle Agyemang on a finals-leading four goals.
These nations have previously met once in a final, in 2011 in Nyon, Switzerland. Alba Pomares scored in added time (of what was then an 80-minute game at U17 level), with players involved including Alexia Putellas, Kadidiatou Diani and Griedge Mbock Bathy. Spain are unbeaten in five finals meetings with France, including a 3-0 group win last year in which Vicky started against Taeryne Job, with Mélinda Mendy coming off the bench for France.
Views from the camps
Kenio Gonzalo, Spain coach: "We have worked all this year to get to the final, it’s incredible to be in this situation, and we have the support of an incredible federation. It’s different to last year. Then, for the whole squad it was the first final of their career. Now, Spain know how to focus on the final.
"France are an incredible team, they have made the final and they are a very good team. France have many abilities, but Spain can deal with that. France won their semi-final 10-2, but in the U17 tournament players are very young – and a final is a different situation."
Vicky López, Spain captain: "Of course to play in a final is always incredible. This will be my last U17 final and I am very happy to play in it and I hope we win!
“Last year the defeat was a moment to reflect. It gave us the strength to win the World Cup and reach this final here. [Experience of playing finals] is a special thing we have. France doesn’t have anyone that have played in a final last year. I have, and I can talk to my team-mates and tell them the positive and negative things, more or less what we have to do.
"France always have a good team. I think maybe their semi-final result didn’t quite reflect the reality of the game. The final will be closer, it’s a different match, and we have more experience going into this final."
Peggy Provost, France coach: "The team is in good shape, there is a good group dynamic. All the staff and everyone is preparing for the game and working on all the details to win this game.
"[Spain] are an experienced team, they are in their tenth final and want their fifth title. They play a possession game. France are in their fourth final and want to win their first title, we have a good quality team that have shown they can score goals, with clinical players – it should be an open game."
Maeline Mendy, France captain: "The spirit in the team is good. We have worked hard to get to the final, we are proud of ourselves and we will give everything to win this game. We got a lot of confidence from the semi-final where we scored ten goals from 15 shots, so we are feeling good going into the final.
“[Spain] are a very good team, but we are not afraid and we will do all we can to beat them ... Of course when I see the trophy I feel like I really want to have it – and we will do all we can to have it at the end of the final."
- Spain are in a record tenth final, one ahead of Germany.
- Spain seek their fifth title; Germany have a record eight. Spain are also FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup winners after victory in the last two editions of 2018 and 2022 (with Vicky López, who won the Golden Ball as best player, Ainhoa Alguacil and Cristina Librán all part of last year's triumph in India).
- France lost their three previous finals in 2007/08 (to Germany), 2010/11 (to Spain) and 2011/12 (to Germany). In 2012 France went on to win the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
- France aim to be the fourth different champions after Germany, Spain and Poland (in 2012/13, the last four-team knockout finals).
- This is the first final not to feature Germany since Spain beat Switzerland in 2014/15 (there were no finals in 2019/20 or 2020/21).
- Spain hope to be the first team to win all five games in a WU17 EURO final tournament in regulation time since the group stage was introduced in 2013/14.
- Spain also can complete the first perfect 11-game winning campaign including qualifying (Germany won all eight matches in their inaugural campaigns of 2007/08 and 2008/09 under the old format).
- Spain are unbeaten in 20 WU17 games including qualifying (but not penalty shoot-outs) since a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in the 2019 semis. They are two away from Germany’s record, set in their first 22 WU17 EURO matches
Can there be extra time in the WU17 EURO final?
As in all UEFA youth competitions, there will not be extra time if the match ends level after 90 minutes. The final would go straight to penalties, as in seven of the 13 past finals.