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Aug 1, 2011

Spain seal fifth U-19 title

Substitute Paco Alcacer was the hero as Spain won their fifth UEFA European Under-19 Championship title with a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in extra-time.

Spain, favourites to lift the title in Romania, came from behind twice as the Czechs struck the opener seven minutes after half-time thanks to Ladislav Krejci's fierce low shot.

It looked like that would be the only goal of the game until the 85th minute when left-back Jon Aurtenetxe diverted Ruben Pardo's volley into the net for the equaliser but, after extra-time was forced, the Czechs went ahead again thanks to substitute Patrik Lacha after more good work from Krejci.

Minutes later Alvaro Morata headed on for Alcacer to get Spain level again with 12 minutes remaining, and moments before the final whistle was blown the Valencia forward finally settled the contest with a cool finish.

After the game, Spain coach Ginés Meléndez paid tribute to his side's powers of recovery, telling UEFA.com: ''Mental strength is extremely important in a final to keep your composure, and perhaps we had problems there in the first 20 minutes. After the changes we caused more problems for their defence, especially down the wings, but I'd like to point to our mental strength as on two occasions we had to fight back from a goal down.''

Czech coach, Jaroslav Hrebík, added: ''It was a pity that we went to extra time, we started to be a bit weak in those 30 minutes and we couldn't play like we did in the second half. Spain are such a high-quality team, every player is excellent, and that's the main reason they won.''

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