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Sweden match-winner Diaz realises dream

"My team-mates are amazing and I can't believe we've done this," said Malin Diaz after her goal sealed Sweden's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship win.

Sweden's Malin Diaz lifts the trophy aloft
Sweden's Malin Diaz lifts the trophy aloft ©Sportsfile

Struggling to express her delight, Malin Diaz nonetheless found words such as "amazing" and "incredible" coming to her as instinctively as her predatory winner in the wake of Sweden's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship success.

Unable to find their way past a talented Spain team in normal time, the Scandinavian side had to wait until the 108th minute to make their mark. The conditions in Antalya were sapping for both sets of players, but Diaz refused to relent and her vibrancy came to the fore when she temporarily abandoned her artistry to follow up Elin Rubensson's parried cross to clinch victory.

"It was amazing, incredible," commented the goalscorer. "It's very hard to put into words. When the ball game came out to me, all that went through my head was to stick it in the back of the net."

Spain dictated possession, while Sweden held their nerve and stood up to the test with fierce determination. "Spain are a very good team," added Diaz. "They had the ball most of the time, but we are also a good team and managed to deal with them. At half-time, the coach told us to slow down a little bit and keep the ball a lot, and to go forward."

Since falling at the final hurdle in this competition in 2009, Sweden have built patiently and placed an emphasis on solid technique and dogged defending. Both virtues were telling in a tense showpiece, and Diaz paid tribute to her cultured team-mates. "I'm so proud. My team-mates are amazing and I can't believe we have done this. We have been playing together since we were 15 and finally we have done it."

Diaz reserved her greatest praise for striker Rubensson, the tournament's top scorer with five goals having sparked her chance to decide the final. "Elin is a great player and scores lots of goals, but it was nice that she set me up," she said. "It has been an amazing trip from the moment we got here to this point in time. It has been great. Right now I just want to celebrate."

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