Spanish team celebrates goal against Netherlands 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Defending-champion Spain will enter the European Under-21 Championship
semifinals as the only team with a perfect record after defeating the
Netherlands 3-0 in Petah Tikva on Wednesday to win Group B.
and the Netherlands entered Wednesday knowing they had already secured their
place in the last four, with the Dutch only needing a draw to ensure they finish
in first place and face Norway in Saturday’s semis.
However, Spain seemed
far more determined to avoid Italy in the semis and claimed a comfortable
victory to leapfrog the Netherlands.
As a result, Spain will play Norway
in the first semifinal on Saturday in Netanya, with Italy to square off with the
Netherlands later in the evening at Moshava Stadium in Petah Tikva.
had toiled to wins in its first two group games, requiring a late goal by Alvaro
Morata in each of the matches against Russia and Germany to claim 1-0
However, starting for the first time in the tournament, Morata
waited just 26 minutes to find the back of the net on Wednesday after some
unselfish play by Pablo Sarabia.
Four minutes later, the Netherlands,
which changed its entire starting lineup, squandered a golden opportunity to
level the score, with Spain and Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea
denying Mike van der Hoorn from point-blank range.
Spain punished the
Dutch two minutes later, doubling its advantage through manof- the-match Isco
and Alvaro Vazquez completed the scoring in the 90th minute.
Wednesday, Germany ensured it ended the tournament on a sweet note, defeating
Russia 2-1 after both teams lost their first two matches. Alan Dzagoev (22) gave
Russia the lead, with Patrick Herrmann (34) and Sebastian Rudy (69) scoring for