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Caldentey: the Ireland defeat made us stronger

María Caldentey talks to UEFA.com about the fine volley that took Spain through to Sunday's final and the opening-day loss that helped train hearts and minds.

María Caldentey, pictured last year, put Spain ahead
María Caldentey, pictured last year, put Spain ahead ©Icon Sport

María Caldentey says Spain's 2-0 opening-day defeat by the Republic of Ireland has only made them stronger after scoring the crucial goal – and in some style – to send her side through to Sunday's final.

Thursday's meeting with Norway was in the balance when, 19 minutes from time, left winger Caldentey emphatically ended a bit of head tennis in the penalty area following a corner after setting herself under a high looping ball on the edge of the box. "It took a long time for the ball to come down but I didn't get too excited," she said. "Instead, I just focused on first getting the ball and then getting it into the net. I managed both."

She certainly did, meeting the ball first time with a sweeping right foot and sending it into the bottom corner. It capped Spain's increasing ascendancy and there was no way back for the hosts. Marta Turmo's 94th-minute strike removed any doubt, as Spain secured passage to only their third UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship final.

"Any player likes scoring goals and I'm delighted that my goal was the first, the goal that gave confidence to the team and the goal that was our first step to the final," added the 18-year-old who plays her club football at Mallorca outfit UD Collerense. "How can you be unhappy with that?

"We are all so happy," Caldentey explained, surveying the scene on the pitch at full time. "It was a hard game. We lost the first match in Norway but it made us stronger and the team managed to pick itself up. We have been fighting ever since because we have been up against one strong team after another. But every time we have got the result and so we are very, very happy. And there's a final to come."

With that she made for the tribune at the UKI Arena to embrace her watching parents over the advertising hoardings. They never doubted their daughter and her side, either, buying return flights for after the final.