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Sandra hat-trick sets up Spain-France final

Spain 4-3 Netherlands
Captain Sandra Hernández's hat-trick sent Spain into their third straight final in a game the Netherlands led twice.

Highlights: Spain v Netherlands
  • Sandra Hernández hat-trick sends Spain into third straight final
  • Netherlands lead twice and reduce arrears near the end but to no avail
  • Nuria Garrote and Nahikari García become first players to take part in five UEFA youth semi-finals
  • Spain play France in final at 19:00CEST on Sunday in Senec
  • Watch highlights from midnight CET

Spain are into their third straight UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship final after a hat-trick from captain Sandra Hernández decided a seven-goal thriller with the Netherlands.

The game sprang into life in the 22nd minute when Dutch captain Michelle Hendriks laid back to Suzanne Admiraal outside the box and her long shot gave Amaia Peña no chance. Almost immediately, Spain skipper Sandra Hernández equalised with an outrageous free-kick from at least 30 metres out, and Paulina Quaye in the Netherlands goal did well to keep them level at the break.

The Netherlands pushed forward in the second half and just before the hour a free-kick from Jill Roord, who played in the 2014 final win against Spain, eluded the grasp of Amaia Peña.

However, Sandra soon levelled again, turning in a centre from Andrea Sánchez, who five minutes later sent in a corner headed home by Marta Cazalla. Sandra's hat-trick was soon complete from distance and although Hendriks pulled one back with six minutes left, Spain held on.

  • Talking points

Key player: Sandra Hernández (Spain)
Both captains were outstanding but Sandra's three goals have kept alive her hopes of lifting the trophy on Sunday. Her first goal was outrageous, her second invaluable and third decisive.

Spain's attacking options key
The Netherlands were good value for their 2-1 lead even if the first came out of the blue but in the end Spain, who scored 16 goals in the elite round and ten in the group stage here, had too many players capable of creating and scoring. Nahikari García, Lucía García and Sánchez were all constant threats, even apart from Sandra's deadly finishing

Dutch show guile
To score three times against a Spain side who were not breached in the group stage shows the ability the Netherlands have, especially down the wing through Soraya Verhoeve and Roord down the middle. In the end they were outscored, despite valiant efforts from Quaye in goal.

  • Reaction

Sandra Hernández, Spain captain
Scoring goals is always exciting but the important thing is to win, which is what we came out to do. It's even more special when it's the semi-final, and we'll look to carry it on in the final. I know it was a bit far out [the free-kick for the first goal] but I spoke to Nahikari and she said to go for it because she thought I could do it – and I could!

Pedro López, Spain coach
We tried to execute our game plan against a team that were very good on the counterattack. The Netherlands played at a high pace but in the end we were able to impose our game. Sandra came to the tournament hungry to win it, it will be her second final, and she's always ready to give her all for the team.

Jessica Torny, Netherlands coach
It was a very good game. The girls came very close. What made the difference? The goals! We scored good goals but Spain did too, and Sandra, who got three goals, is a very big player. We did make a few positional changes but we can play football, and they did very well. It was like a final.