UEFA U17 Championship: Spain 5 Northern Ireland 1
Paul Kee last night admitted that his Northern Ireland under-17 team was stuck with fear as they lost 5-1 to Spain last night.
The defeat kills off hopes of making the European Championship finals and Spain will now take on England on Thursday for top spot in the group.
Kee’s youngsters had no answer to the slick Spanish, who still have some of last season’s squad which were crowned European champions in their line-up. One of them, Gerard Deulofeu — who trains regularly with Barcelona’s first-team squad — opened the scoring on 19 minutes.
There was a goal-rush shortly before half-time with Denis Suarez doubling Spain’s lead before David Morgan pulled one back for Northern Ireland.
Iker Hernandez restored the two-goal advantage a minute later and he struck again in the second-half.
Pol Calvet completed the rout in injury time.
“The majority of the players were excellent and although we lost 5-1 I was pleased with the performance, but with one or two the fear and inexperience showed,” said Kee.
“We had a good chance to bring it back to 3-2 and make a game of it, but they went straight up the pitch and scored to make it 4-1 and that left us with a lot to do.”
Northern Ireland round off their mini-tournament against host nation Belgium on Thursday.