Spain secured the 2019 UEFA Under-21 European Championship title on Sunday, as they beat Germany 2-1 at the Friuli Stadium in Udine, Italy.
Spain flew out of the traps and were ahead inside seven minutes when Fabian Ruiz curled a brilliant shot into the corner from distance. The other major incident before the break was a reckless challenge from Jesus Vallejo on Germany's Luca Waldschmidt, for which he somehow avoided a red card.
La Rojita made the game safe in the 69th minute, when Fabian's shot was spilled by Germany goalkeeper Alexander Nubel and Dani Olmo dinked in the rebound. Nadiem Amiri's deflected shot gave Germany hope late on, but Spain were able to see the game through.
While Germany were edgy in the early exchanges, Spain settled into the game quickly and put their opponents on the back foot. The goal to put them ahead was beautifully constructed.
Fabian found space to surge into in front of the Germany back four, and with time to pick his spot, he caressed a wonderful effort beyond the goalkeeper:
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GOAL! Fabian Ruiz gives Spain the an early advantage and what a strike this is with his left foot! Watch Germany and Spain clash in the Under-21 European Championship final live on Sky Sports Football or follow it here: https://t.co/JRiHW17vcd #U21EURO #ESPGER https://t.co/HgZGUZsk8N
The Napoli midfielder has been on of the standout players in the competition, and Scouted Football commented on how effectively he strikes the ball:
From that point on Spain seized control, as they kept possession and restricted dangerous attacks for Germany.
La Rojita could have considered themselves fortunate not to be down to 10 men at half-time, though, as Vallejo put in a dangerous tackle on Waldschmidt. Despite video assistant referee technology being available, the Real Madrid man's challenge was only deemed worthy of a caution.
Football journalist Seb Stafford-Bloor said there are still problems with the way in which VAR is being implemented:
Zach Lowy of Breaking The Lines was not impressed with the performance of the Spain centre-back:
Having failed to get going in the first half, Germany were much improved when they emerged after their half-time break.
Their midfield started to recycle possession more effectively, and for the first time in the contest, Spain's defence was strained. Germany nearly equalised after Amiri's shot was spilled by goalkeeper Antonio Sivera, although Vallejo was on hand to clear from a dangerous position.
Per the Spanish Football Podcast, Germany had seized control of the contest at this point:
However, with men pushed forward in search of an equaliser, Spain's threat on the counter-attack was growing, and they grabbed a second goal at the end of a break forward.
The ball fell to Fabian on the edge of the area, and he fired a show towards goal. It lacked the accuracy of his effort in the first half, although it was too hot for Nubel to handle, with Olmo reacting fastest to turn in the loose ball:
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GOAL! Olmo reacts quickest after Ruiz's shot was spilled and Spain are right in the driving seat in the @UEFAUnder21 final! Watch Germany and Spain clash in the Under-21 European Championship final live on Sky Sports Football or follow it here: https://t.co/JRiHW17vcd https://t.co/HfGMWIeRSr
Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe praised the efforts of the Dinamo Zagreb star:
The forward has enjoyed a breakthrough tournament for Spain:
The second goal was enough to take the wind out of the German players until the 89th minute, when Amiri's shot deflected beyond Sivera.
That could have potentially set up a nervy finish for Spain, but they were able to manage the final stages with composure and clinch the trophy.
Victory for Spain gives them a measure of revenge over Germany, as the latter beat the former 1-0 in the final of the competition two years ago.