Spain finish strongly to seal semi-final spot
Monday, 21 July 2014
Spain 2-0 England
Second-half goals from Sonia Fraile and Nahikari García took Jorge Vilda's side through to the last four as England bowed out.
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Spain will face hosts Norway in the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-finals after condemning England to a third Group B defeat.
• Midfielder Fraile breaks deadlock on 58 minutes
• García's second of the tournament seals progress
• England, runners-up 12 months ago, exit with third loss
• Díaz closest in first half with shot that shaves bar
• Semi-finals: Norway v Spain; Ireland v Netherlands
Needing a point to secure progress, Spain were not in complete control until Celia Jiménez made a rare foray forward on 58 minutes, pulling the ball back for the unmarked Sonia Fraile to fire in. From then on, the result was never in doubt, Nahikari García sealing a 2-0 win 11 minutes from time.
The game took place amid sweltering temperatures in Strommen, but there was little thought of conserving energy in a taut first half. England received an early scare when Marta Turmo went close inside three minutes, but it was Brent Hills' side who were enjoying the balance of play. Their movement initially caused problems – one minute Coral-Jade Haines was leading the line, the next she was playing at right-back.
Chances, though, were few and far between. Spain found more space in the attacking third, with María Díaz serving warning when she pounced on a moment of indecision from Ashleigh Mills and Molly Bartrip and rifled in a shot that grazed the crossbar. Only a brilliant intervention from Millie Turner then prevented Alba Redondo getting a free run on goal, while Sophie Baggaley had to be alert to keep out María Caldentey at her near post.
England had a few sights of the target but had no answer when Fraile fired through a crowded box. García ought to have put the game to bed, but Alba Redondo delayed her pass a fraction too long. No matter, she got her goal 11 minutes from time to send Spain through to their third semi-final.
Jorge Vilda, Spain coach
I'm very happy with the result and the effort the girls put in. The first half was difficult, exhausting. England were creating a lot of problems in midfield so we made a few tweaks, especially with the players man-marking opponents. We needed more communication, to tell the girls they need to switch. We were much better. The temperature was a factor today and we'll need to begin recovering for the semi-finals right away.
Brent Hills, England coach
I can't be displeased – we were the better team in the first half. Spain were very nervous, particularly at the start. I can only praise the girls. I'm disappointed to lose all three games, of course – I'm not used to losing three games on the spin. But I can only be proud of them. In all three games they've shown that they can play at this level. We just didn't have the experience and the guile to finish off. First half, we had some great openings. We just couldn't score. I always thought they'd be stronger in the second half. I think Spain will win it.