#WU19EURO final preview: France v Spain

Spain are hoping their experience of big finals will pay dividends as they take on a France side in this showpiece fixture for a record eighth time and aware of their opponents' prolific record.

(L-R) Spain captain Nahikari García and Pedro López pose with France's Gilles Eyquem and Thea Greboval
(L-R) Spain captain Nahikari García and Pedro López pose with France's Gilles Eyquem and Thea Greboval ©Sportsfile

France and Spain meet in Sunday's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship final in Senec and are predicting a good spectacle.

Spain have lost the last two finals but are now under Pedro López and several of this squad were WU17 champions a year ago. Those experiences could prove crucial according to the coach as they aim to complete the tournament with a 100% record. France are not worried about Spain's prolific run, though, as they aim for their fourth title at this level.

  • What they say

Gilles Eyquem, France coach
We are very happy to be in the final, especially against an excellent team in Spain. I hope we put up a good showing. Our aim is, of course, to score one more goal than Spain – even if it's 5-4 or 6-5 it's fine for us! A final is different to other games, what has happened before is in the past.

Pedro López, Spain coach
It's the same sensation as before any final – some butterflies and a very clear idea of what is to come. The experience from previous finals gives us an insight into what is going to happen. If you are nervous it can inhibit you.

  • Road to final
Highlights: France 3-1 Switzerland
Highlights: France 3-1 Switzerland

France
Qualifying round: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-0, Faroe Islands 7-0, Czech Republic 6-0 (Group 2 winners)
Elite round: Portugal 3-0, Greece 6-0, Scotland 2-0 (Group 5 winners)
Group stage: Norway 0-1, Slovakia 6-0, Netherlands 2-1 (Group A winners)
Semi-final: Switzerland 3-1

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)
Semi-final: Netherlands 4-3

  • Key factors
Semi-final highlights: Spain 4-3 Netherlands
Semi-final highlights: Spain 4-3 Netherlands

Spain can score
With 27 goals in their perfect run of seven wins, Spain will take some stopping. Six of their squad have goals here, including multiple strikes from all four of their forward players, most recently Sandra Hernández's semi-final hat-trick. Nahikari García and Lucía García lead the line, with Andrea Sánchez Falcón providing thrust on the flanks.

France peaking at right time
France got better with every group game and continued that improvement versus Switzerland, when, having trailed against the run of play at half-time, they had their winning 3-1 lead by the 54th minute. The key was Clara Mateo and Perle Morroni's introduction at the interval, switching tactics from a wing-based 4-3-3 to a more centrally-focused 4-1-3-1-1 led by Marie-Antoinette Katoto, joint finals top scorer on five goals.

Spain-France U17 penalty drama
Spain-France U17 penalty drama

Spanish experience
This is Spain's third straight final, and they have also managed a similar hat-trick in the Women's U17 Championship. That means pretty much all the squad know what it is like to play in a final, though their only win was in last season's U17 event in Iceland, coached by López before his U19 promotion.

Amaia Peña, Patri Guijarro, Maite Oroz, Carmen Menayo, Lucía García, Andrea Sierra, Marta Cazalla and Aitana Bonmati were in that squad in Iceland last summer and in the semi-finals won on penalties against a France side featuring Elisa De Almeida, Katoto and Jade Lebastard.

  • Did you know?

Spain's Nuria Garrote, Nahikari and Sánchez Falcón could become the first players to appear in four UEFA youth finals for men or women after the 2014 WU17 and last two WU19 deciders. Spain lost all those fixtures. Read more in our extensive final briefing.

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