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Record-breaking Spain retain the title

Spain went into the 2018 Women's U19 EURO in Switzerland as holders of both that trophy and the Women's U17 title – and ended it with the cup still in their possession.

Record-breaking Spain retain the title
Record-breaking Spain retain the title ©Sportsfile

Spain went into the 2018 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in Switzerland both as holders of that trophy and as recent winners of the Women's U17 title – and they ended it with the more senior cup still in their possession.

They dominated the final against Germany in Biel/Bienne before triumphing with an 80th-minute free-kick by María Llompart – one of nine 17-year-olds in a young 20-strong squad. In doing so, Spain became the first nation to win the Women's U17 and U19 titles in the same year, and the second after Germany in 2001, 2002 and 2007 to retain the older of the two championships.

The reason Spain had a young squad was that they – like Germany, France and the Netherlands – had key players picked instead for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup the following month in Brittany.

In Group A the two teams that had faced off in the 2016 and 2017 finals, Spain and France, picked up just one point between them on the opening day, when the holders lost 2-0 to Norway and Les Bleues saw a two-goal lead disappear as they were held 2-2 by hosts Switzerland.

Norway sealed first place in that group three days later as they edged France 1-0 and Spain found form to beat Switzerland 2-0. That put matters into Spain's own hands for the last game and they won 2-1 against France, meaning Switzerland's 3-1 victory over France was in vain.

It was similarly tight in Group B. Despite missing 13-goal qualifying top scorer Fenna Kalma, the Netherlands went three up within half an hour against Italy, winning 3-1, while Germany overcame Denmark 1-0. The Dutch then beat Germany 1-0, the same scoreline by which Denmark defeated Italy, leaving all four sides in contention on the final day.

Germany prevailed 2-0 against Italy, but knew it would not be enough if Denmark won against the Netherlands by a one-goal margin other than 1-0. So when, within 20 minutes, Denmark led 2-1, Germany had cause for concern; however Janni Thomsen made it 3-1 to the Danes early in the second half and therefore it was the Dutch who missed out – the only one of five teams ending the group stage on six points to do so.

Action now moved to Biel/Bienne for the knockout matches, with the European heatwave reaching its peak come semi-final day. In those sweltering conditions, Germany struck either side of half-time to win 2-0 against Norway while Teresa Abelleira's long-range goal helped Spain past Denmark.

So it was record six-time winners Germany – in their first final since 2011 – against defending champions Spain for the title. The Spaniards, in their record fifth straight final, earned victory and goalscorer Llompart – one of several players to make her competitive international debut at any level in these finals – told UEFA.com: "It's a dream come true, I am really proud of my team. We have achieved our goal and we are really, really happy. To score the goal, I just felt a lot of emotion. I'm dreaming!"