JERUSALEM - Israel came in for warm praise from European soccer's supremo Michel Platini as the Euro Under-21 soccer championships ended with Spain thrashing Italy 4-2 to retain the title.
"The stadiums were wonderful and well organised, the pitches excellent and the atmosphere in the stadiums was great with many families with young children attending. That is exactly the type of tournament that I like to see," Platini told a news conference.
Spain stood out above all their opponents, winning all their matches without conceding a goal until the final and their flowing style captivated the crowds. They won a fourth title in Jerusalem, one fewer than the record held by Italy.
Israel qualified as hosts and were on paper the weakest team in the event, although they managed to beat England in a meaningless encounter and forced a draw with eventual semi-finalists Norway.