Real Madrid’s Jese Rodriguez seemed to be involved in every piece of action and eventually grabbed his goal as Spain Under 19s claimed this year’s European Under 19 Championship title.
It was his winner that secured the Spaniards their second consecutive trophy in the tournament after also triumphing in last year’s competition.
It took a penalty shootout against France to see them through to the semi-final but they have always been one of the best teams in the competition and have an abundance of talent in their squad that will surely feed through to the senior team to maintain their status as the best nation in the world.
The eventual winners always dominated this game and had to defend only a few brief Greek chances before taking one of their own.
Just after the quarter of an hour mark, Rodriguez’s dangerous driven effort was parried wide by Sokratis Dioudis in the Greek goal.
Gerard Deulofeu was constantly involved in dangerous moves and could have played a part in breaking the deadlock after 24 minutes when a lovely piece of skill by the youngster concluded in a pass across the penalty spot that was unfortunate not to find a Spanish foot to direct it goalwards.
After 30 minutes Deulofeu and Rodriguez linked up magnificently to produce Spain’s best chance of the half. Deulofeu’s ball across the box found Rodriguez who managed to play the ball back into the box no more than ten yards out to meet the creator’s run. However, Deulofeu could not find the target despite the space around him to control the ball.
Straight down the other end however, Giannis Gianniotas neat run and cross found Giorgios Katidis in the area who headed merely inches wide across goal.
Nikos Marinakis made a vital intervention as Spain pushed for a goal before half time. His boot met a ball from Rodriguez as the Spaniards were queuing up behind him ready to put the ball into the net.
With five minutes of the half remaining Oliver Torres had an optimistic effort from just outside the box. Unfortunately for him the ball sailed over the crossbar, but the worried Greece defenders would count themselves lucky.
Ten minutes into the second half, Spain captain Jose Campana hit the cross bar with a long range effort – the closest the game had come to a goal so far.
Dioudis in the Greek goal made two crucial saves on 60 minutes as Rodriguez’s spiralling run and powerful effort was saved and Alejandro Grimaldo’s follow-up was also denied.
The second half suffered a large dry spell until the goal eventually came. On 80 minutes, Rodriguez made a wide run coming into the box, receving a nutmegged ball from Deulofeu, and bent the ball into the far corner past Dioudis. Despite their brave battling, the goal was always coming for the Spaniards who seem to dominate at every level.
Rodriguez left the field and was replaced by Juan Bernat in additional time. Rodriguez will claim the golden boot award with 5 goals and will undoubtedly be one that we will hear more of in the future.