WOMEN'S U19 CHAMPIONSHIP
Nahikari García and Spain's U19s reach for the stars in Slovakia
As Spain’s Women’s Under-19s begin their campaign in the European Under-19 championship, AS speaks to the Real Sociedad forward and Spain No.7.
Spain defeated Germany 1-0 with Real Sociedad forward Nahikari García getting the goal. Next up for the Spanish women is Austria while Germany play Switzerland in the other Group B match.
One of football’s ancient adages – the first and probably the most universal one, states that to win, first you have to know how it feels to lose. That will surely ring a few bells with Spain’s Women’s Under-19s; they kickstart their European Under-19 championship against Germany in Slovakia this evening aiming to advance as far as they can in the competition, and after reaching the final in the last two editions only to end up with runners-up medals – losing in 2014 to Holland and last year to Sweden. Real Sociedad’s Nahikari García was part of the Spain side that played in both of those finals as she told AS, it won’t make any difference to Pedro López’s side that holders Sweden are not taking part this time around as the standard will be just as high as it always is. “We tend to just concentrate on ourselves. We know that teams change and old generations make way for new ones”, Nahikari explained. “We're very motivated and this is another challenge for us. Once again we have made the final stage of the tournament which is incredible and although it might seem easy because Spain have done it for several years, it's very tough to get this far; it's very difficult and we are going to fight to the end to achieve something”.
Spain are in Group B with Austria, Switzerland and today’s rivals, Germany – the first two from both sections will qualify directly for the semi-finals. Out of the eight teams in the tournament, Nahikari pinpointed two of the nations which will be the toughest to beat: “I think France have a brilliant team this year - with La Real we played against the French U19 side and they are a very good side, who play well as a unit. Germany always manages to build great sides, every year they are strong. That's the battle which lies ahead of us. All of the teams who have qualified for the final stage of the tournament are very tough - let's hope Spain can do well and go far. Last year we ended as runners-up in Israel, and this year we want more - we know that it will be difficult but not impossible”.
After today's game against Germany, Spain face Austria on Friday then Switzerland on Monday.