Spain star Fabián Ruiz hails Euro U21 grit
Spain's player of the tournament Fabián Ruiz hailed the collective effort that sealed European Under-21 Championship glory.
Fabián Ruiz cited Spain's togetherness in overcoming adversity as a key factor in their European Under-21 Championship triumph. Napoli midfielder Fabián scored a fabulous opener against Germany in Sunday's final, before Dani Olmo converted the rebound from another of his long-ranger efforts to set up a 2-1 win.
Germany outclassed by Spain
A classy triumph from Luis de la Fuente's side was a far cry from their opening 3-1 loss to hosts Italy, which left them needing a thumping 5-0 win over Poland in the final group game to progress on goal difference.
Fabián was named player of the tournament after a superb showing in Udine and he told UEFA's official website: "I'm delighted to have won the award but winning the tournament was more important. We started badly against Italy, and things were difficult. We had to beat Poland by more than three goals. But the side was confident, and we deserved to be champions. The key has been to be together – we've got a great team spirit. We had to give our best. Germany are a great side and we had to suffer together. They're great players but the 2-0 [advantage] gave us peace of mind and confidence and I think we are deserved winners."
Germany largely restricted Spain following Fabián's seventh-minute goal and were entitled to be aggrieved when Jesús Vallejo was only booked for a reckless lunge on Gian-Luca Waldschmidt. Nadiem Amiri's deflected goal in the 88th minute gave them a flicker of hope but it was not to be.
Waldschmidt, top scorer
Freiburg forward Waldschmidt finished as the top scorer in the tournament thanks to a prolific haul of seven and told UEFA.com: "We played a good tournament until the final. To lose the final it hurts a lot, of course, but now we have to look to the future and prepare for our next challenges. I took many steps forward and developed myself in the tournament, but I don't think it was a huge difference – it was the result of a year's hard work."