Belfast Telegraph

France boss is sure his girls will retain Euro crown in Belfast decider

 

By Laure James

The Irish FA will be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast for tomorrow's Uefa Under-19 European Championship final between France and Spain at Windsor Park (7.30pm).

The fixture will be a repeat of the 2016 showdown in Slovakia, which had a two-hour delay at half-time following torrential rain.

Les Bleuettes emerged 2-1 winners after the match was finally restarted, but it was touch and go if the game would continue.

This year's final, despite being contested between two of the competition's most successful nations, is something of a surprise line-up.

Holders France are in the mix to retain their title, which would bring their tally to five, after coming from behind to beat Germany 2-1, dumping the favourites and record six-time winners out, while Pedro López's girls ran out 3-2 winners against Netherlands.

France boss Gilles Eyquem paid tribute to the tenacity his players showed when it mattered.

"They're exceptionally driven and have lots of talent," he said. "Germany were very strong and we were at our best to beat them.

"This is a young team. What you usually get is an experienced side that has played in one or two editions before, then the following year you'll have a new crop. This team is young but can perform, which is good for the future of women's football in France."

Spain are through to their fourth consecutive final - but haven't lifted the trophy since 2004.

Like France, they finished runners-up in their group and are the second nation to reach four finals in a row - yet hope they won't finish second this time round.

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