Wales’ hopes of reaching the 2019 UEFA U19 European Championship Finals came to an end after a 5-1 defeat to Spain in Hardenberg.
Spain 5-1 Wales
- Conde 22', Agmir 27', Garcia 56' 63', Salvatierra 82'
- Cabango 40'
Manager Paul Bodin made three changes to the side that narrowly lost 2-1 to the Netherlands on Wednesday night. Scorer Christian Norton was given a start along with Sam Bowen while Ben Cabango returned to the defence after missing the first match through suspension.
Despite an even opening twenty minutes, two goals in quick succession quickly turned the game in Spain’s favour. A cleared cross landed at the feet of Antonio Conde on the edge of the box who’s strike found the bottom corner for the game’s opening goal. Minutes later Victor Carpintero got his second assist of the match as his cross met the head of Mohamed Agmir who made no mistake in finding the top corner.
Spain were very good. Nobody likes losing so we're disappointed but defensively we probably didn't deserve to lose 5-1 but that's what the score was. It's a tough competition against good competition and it's games like this we want to test ourselves and improve. Twelve of the players in this squad are eligible for next year's U19s tournament and the rest can step up into Rob Page's U21s. It's important we push for a result against Slovenia on Tuesday with the players looking for places in those future squads.
Wales found their stride once again and were unlucky not to get an instant response themselves after Norton’s drilled effort from a Luke Jephcott cross was deflected off the Spanish keeper, bouncing a yard off the line before it was cleared. The only Welsh goal came minutes before half time. Midfielder Dylan Levitt delivered a free kick from the left-hand side and Ben Cabango’s header kept Wales in the game at the end of the half.
The second half started in similar fashion to the start of the match with both teams even on chances and possession, but the Spanish eventually found another gear. Three goals in twenty minutes from Garcia (x2) and Salvatierra put the game to bed, with Wales’ best chance of the half coming from Brennan Johnson who saw his angled shot bounce off the post.
Paul Bodin’s side will now look to finish their Elite Round journey on a high when they face Slovenia in the final game on Tuesday 26 March (KO 18:00 GMT).
Wales 1. George Ratcliffe, 2. Neco Williams (16. Ryan Astley 67'), 6. Brandon Cooper (c), 5. Ben Cabango, 3. Morgan Boyes (13. Jay Foulston 67'), 4. Sam Bowen, 8. Dylan Levitt (14. Keenan Patten 84'), 10. Brennan Johnson (18. Callum Watts, 77'), 7. Luke Jephcott (20. Sam Pearson 81'), 15. Christian Norton (9. Dan Griffiths 68'), 11. Jack Vale
Subs not used: 12. Adam Przybek, 17. Ryan Stirk, 19. Cameron Evans.
Goals: Cabango 40'
Yellow cards: Cabango 33', Griffiths 72'
Spain 13. Urena, 2. Perea, 3. Gonzalez (5. V Garcia 78'), 6. Conde (12. Sendra 68'), 7. Garcia (19. Catalan 68'), 8. Agmir (20. Ortega 78'), 9. Ortega (c), 14. Segovia, 15. Matret (11. Salvatierra 78'), 16. Gomez, 18. Carpintero
Goals: Conde 22', Agmir 27', Garcia 56' 63', Salvatierra 82'