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England claim first championship in 39 years with victory over Spain

[Credit: UEFA]

Curtis Jones’ unconventional goal and James Trafford’s late heroics means England U21 are crowned European Champions for the first time in 39 years with victory over Spain.

Cole Palmer’s free kick bounced off Jones and in for the only goal of a feisty affair between two talented teams.

Trafford made an incredible stoppage time penalty save to keep the impressive Spaniards at bay and to crown his team champions.

England put three past Israel in a convincing semi-final win while Spain beat Ukraine 5-1 to book their spot in final.

The young lions started brightly with Anthony Gordon heavily involved, having a drilled shot saved and playing a good ball across the box, narrowly missing the boot of Morgan Gibbs-White.

After 12 minutes Álex Baena came close as he took a shot on from the edge of the area, but the effort curled wide of the far post.

Six minutes later the Spaniards had a good chance from a corner as Aitor Parades nodded the ball just beyond the post.

Spain continued to press England into giving up possession as they started to look more and more confident after half an hour of play.

Following an excellent delivery by Palmer, Levi Colwill’s header hit the post after he headed it downward at pace.

With half time looming, England took the lead as Palmer’s left footed free kick struck the back of Curtis Jones and found the back of the net.

The goal led to a big dispute on the touchline between the benches with a member of each team’s coaching staff being shown red cards.

On the 50th minute Abel Ruiz thought his header had drawn the game level, but the linesman’s flag was up for offside, and England remained ahead.

15 minutes later Jones made a driving run from midfield going all the way into the box, taking the shot on his left foot but was denied by Tenas.

Ruiz came agonizingly close to equalising as his glancing header flew wide of the post with Spain constantly pushing for a goal.

With just a quarter of an hour to play, some nice attacking interplay reached Rodrigo Riquelme with space inside the area, but he fired his effort into the side netting.

Tenas produced some outstanding goalkeeping right at the death saving a shot from Harvey Elliot and then denying Noni Madueke in quick succession to keep England at arm’s length.

In the 96th minute Colwill fouled Ruiz in the area and conceded a penalty following a VAR check in a dramatic conclusion to the final.

Ruiz stepped up and Trafford produced an unbelievable save to keep him out and then saved the follow up attempt to give England the trophy without conceding a single goal.

Gibbs-White and Antonio Blanco both received red cards in the aftermath which summed up a very physical and competitive clash.

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