Germany beat Spain to win U21 Euro Cup

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Germany shocked Spain to win the Euro 2017 title as Mitchell Weiser’s header clinched glory.

Hertha Berlin wideman Weiser’s 40th-minute winner gave Germany a deserved 1-0 victory in Friday’s final in Krakow.

Disappointing Spain were chasing a record-equalling fifth title but rarely looked like winning their third crown in four tournaments.

Five-goal top scorer Saul Niguez and Real Madrid wonderkid Marco Asensio barely made an impact as Germany, who beat England in the semifinals, shut them out.

Max Meyer hit the post for Germany early on and the best Spain could muster was when Saul’s drive was turned away by Julien Pollersbeck.

While Spain were the favourites the Germans, and charismatic coach Stefan Kuntz, had enjoyed a relaxed build-up with Kuntz singing and joking in his prematch press conference.

Spain, in contrast, appeared uptight and Kuntz had fired an early warning that they should not take winning the title for granted.

His words resonated early on as Meyer’s neat header rattled the post after eight minutes and Max Arnold drilled just wide during an impressive German start.

While Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin glanced wide for Spain his former Gunners teammate Serge Gnabry drilled into the sidenetting as Kuntz’s men hunted their opponents down.

Gnabry missed another fine chance when Kepa Arrizabalaga gathered his close-range effort but the German pressure was growing with Spain unable to find a rhythm.

With Asensio and Saul nullified Spain had no outlet and Germany deservedly opened the scoring five minutes before half-time.

They had been patient in their build-up and when one move broke down Germany went again down the right, eventually working the ball for Jeremy Toljan and he crossed for Weiser to guide a brilliant looping header over Kepa from 10 yards.

Spain needed a swift response and improved after the break but Germany almost had a degree of control.

Saul tested Pollersbeck from distance but despite Spain seeing more of the ball it was Germany who almost doubled their lead after 61 minutes.

Jorge Mere’s loose pass allowed Meyer to slip in Gnabry but Kepa saved the winger’s low effort and Marc-Oliver Kempf headed the resulting corner just wide.

Inaki Williams replaced the disappointing Sandro Ramirez, who is set to join Everton, for Spain and Dani Ceballos whistled a drive wide with 19 minutes left.

Williams’ arrival gave Spain a lift but Germany battened down the hatches to claim their second European title.

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