Spain v Netherlands semi-final preview

Spain coach Pedro López believes his players' experience of previous semi-finals as they take on a Netherlands team in a positive mood despite losing their last group game.

Can the Netherlands stop the Spanish run?
Can the Netherlands stop the Spanish run? ©Sportsfile
  • Spain won group with 100% record and face Netherlands, who beat them in 2014 final
  • Spain's Nahikari García and Nuria Garrote could play in UEFA record fifth youth semi-final
  • No suspensions and all group-stage bookings have been rescinded
  • Watch live on Eurosport 1
  • Follow with @UEFAWomensEURO on Twitter and on Facebook using #WU19EURO
  • Thursday's other semi-final France v Switzerland: 16:00CEST (Eurosport 2)
  • Final on Sunday in Senec

Spain hold the sole remaining 100% UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship as they attempt to reach a third straight final against the side that beat them in the 2014 decider, the Netherlands. The Dutch lost their last group game to France but coach Jessica Torny says she has a "really special" team.

  • What they say:

Pedro López, Spain coach
The players are all in great shape and motivated after their wins. We've managed to keep improving and keep our concentration and motivation high. At no point have they let their quality drop, whichever team we've started with.

Playing a semi-final is far more exciting than a group match and having played in previous tournaments, they know what it means to have an all or nothing match. It's an advantage [to have several players with semi-final experience] who know what it takes at this level. The Netherlands are a well-organised team with top-quality players; it'll be a tough match.

Jessica Torny, Netherlands coach
The players are positive; they're really happy to have reached the semi-finals, to be among the best four in Europe. We knew France were really strong and that it would be a tough game but the girls stayed positive and because of the first two results we could afford that defeat.

We think it will be a really great game. We know a bit about Spain already and perhaps they are better than France. We beat Spain in the final two years ago so it will be tough for them too. We have a really special team that can continue to improve.

  • Road to semi-finals
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Spain
Qualifying round: bye
Elite round: Italy 3-0, Northern Ireland 7-1, Denmark 3-1 (Group 4 winners)
Group stage: Germany 1-0, Austria 4-0, Switzerland 5-0 (Group A winners)

Netherlands
Qualifying round: Cyprus 9-0, Moldova 12-0, Italy 1-1 (Group 7 winners)
Elite round: Czech Republic 7-2, Belarus 3-0, Finland 1-1 (Group 3 winners)
Group stage: Slovakia 6-0, Norway 1-0, France 1-2 (Group B runners-up)

  • Key factors

Exciting Spain
Building on their traditions and reputation, if you are looking for excitement, then look no further than Spain, who have kept the fans entertained in Slovakia.

With Lucía García and Nahikari García already on three goals after a free-scoring group stage, they have almost single-handedly ensured this is set to be one of the most prolific finals ever. Their goals have come from a range of different situations, underlining a versatility which means if you manage to break down one of their supply lines, inevitably they have another to open.

©Sportsfile

Dutch possession game
The Netherlands made their intentions clear right from the get-go, the inspirational Jill Roord helping them hit the hosts for six with a hat-trick. Their Dutch attributes of intelligent build-up and controlled possession has made it hard to shake them off the ball, and it is going to be equally difficult to shake them out of the tournament.

  • Players to watch

Spain: Nahikari García – One of three Spain players aiming to reach her third straight U19 final, Nahikari García has demonstrated her experience in more ways than one. A leader in terms of goals, she is also Spain's leader on the field.

Netherlands: Jil Roord – Joint top-scorer Roord has been terrorising defences in Slovakia, not only with her goals. Lying just behind the main striker, her link-up play has enabled her to create gaps which she has exploited ruthlessly.

  • In 2014 a Netherlands team featuring Jill Roord beat a Spain side including Nahikari García, Nuria Garrote and Andrea Sánchez in the WU19 final: watch highlights of the game in Oslo below.
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