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Europe, News, Under 19s

Spain Hunt For Third Successive European Under 19 Title

Luis de la Fuente hopes to mirror last year's success in this tournament.

Luis de la Fuente hopes to mirror last year’s success in this tournament.

On Saturday Spain will start their pursuit of yet another European Under 19 Championship winners medal.

They face Portugal in their opening game of a very strong group which also includes Netherlands and the host nation, Lithuania, in a bid to win their third successive title.

Coach Luis de la Fuente told UEFA.com that he is wary of the challenges they will face in Group A: “Teams that have come this far have demonstrated that they are at an exceptionally high level.

“We know that, in our group, the Netherlands and Portugal will be considered among the favourites to win the title. We are expecting very difficult matches.

“We are going to have to be at our best to overcome the challenges our rivals will set us.”

This is de la Fuente’s first major tournament and he says he has been in contact with last year’s winning coach Julen Lopetegui, who led Spain to glory in the European U21 Championship earlier this year.

He said: “Of course. I’ve talked to him almost every day, and was doing so even when he was in Turkey [at the FIFA U-20 World Cup] via email and mobile. [All of the coaches] within the federation are colleagues and people you can consult with.

“We all form part of a group of coaches here with the man in charge, and with ultimate responsibility, being Ginés Meléndez.”

Spain qualified for this competition comfortably. A draw against Croatia was their only slip in Elite Round qualification where they defeated Greece and Poland.

About Tom Bennett

I'm a 21-year-old Multimedia Journalism student at Bournemouth University aspiring to be one of Britain's top sports journalists. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for contact and further information.

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