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France win WU19 title in stormy final

France 2-1 Spain
France claimed their fourth WU19 EURO title following a final that lasted for four hours due to a rain interruption.

Final highlights: France 2-1 Spain
  • France earn fourth WU19 EURO title in rain-interrupted final
  • Grace Geyoro gives France half-time lead
  • Half-time lasts more than two hours due to torrential thunderstorm
  • Mylène Chavas saves Nahikari García penalty when game resumes
  • Marie-Antoinette Katoto clinches title with finals-leading sixth goal
  • Spain defeated in third straight final despite pulling one back late on

France are UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship winners for the fourth time after beating Spain in a final that ended around four hours after it began.

The game started in sunshine and although Spain had the better of the play, France took the lead on 36 minutes when Théa Greboval sent Grace Geyoro clear to slot the ball in. By now it was raining and the thunderstorm forced the game to be suspended for two hours at half-time.

The water was cleared and the game resumed. Spain soon had a penalty when Nahikari García was tripped but her kick was tipped on to the post by Mylène Chavas. France made Spain pay as Marie-Antoinette Katoto pounced on a back-pass and slotted the ball into an empty net. Nahikari did help pull one back as her shot rolled towards goal, Lucía García making sure, but France held out after Nahikari missed at the death.

  • Talking points

Key player: Marie-Antoinette Katoto (France)
It is hard to pick out one player in a game that so challenged everybody but Katoto worked out how to hold the ball up in the wet conditions and that led to the decisive second goal.

The pitch during the lengthy suspension
The pitch during the lengthy suspension©Sportsfile

A unique final
The Norway-Slovakia game was of course abandoned in the group stage but the thunderstorm, lengthy suspension and wet, delayed second half made this a final like no other. France adapted better but every player deserves credit for making the most of a situation that no one would say was ideal.

Spain generation deserves praise
The history books will record that this was Spain's third straight final defeat. Indeed, Nuria Garrote, Nahikari García and Andrea Sánchez Falcón played in them all as well as the loss in the 2013/14 WU17 EURO decider against Germany. But the conditions did not suit them today; other than that they were the outstanding team in this tournament.

Their records speak for themselves. Never before have any players appeared in a fourth UEFA youth final while Nahikari set new records of 15 WU19 EURO finals and 21 UEFA youth final tournament appearances. Sánchez, meanwhile, has played in an unprecedented 40 UEFA youth competition fixtures. This is a special generation.


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