2016 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship - France 2-1 Spain: Geyoro and Katoto secure title for France in marathon final

The Spanish hoodoo in finals for this age group has continued.

2016 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship - France 2-1 Spain: Geyoro and Katoto secure title for France in marathon final
Image credit: UEFA.com
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France: (4-4-1-1) Chavas; Manusy, Cissoko, E. Cascarino, Greboval; D. Cascarino, Condon, Geyoro, Morroni; Mateo; Katoto (Couturier 84').
Spain: (4-1-2-1-2) Pena; Beltran, Bonmati (L. Garcia 84'), Cazalla (Vázquez 87'), Garrote, Garcia, Guijarro, Sanchez, Menayo, Hernandez, Oroz (Carrion 69').
SCORE: 1-0, Geyoro 36'. 2-0, Katoto 66'. 2-1, L. Garcia 84'.
REFEREE: Eszter Urban (HUN). Booked: E. Cascarino (54').

In what may go down in history as one of the most elongated matches in football, France under-19s earned a 2-1 win over their Spanish counterparts.

Grace Geyoro's strike gave the French a half-time lead, before the heavens opened and a two-hour delay followed.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto gave France a two-goal cushion midway through the half, before Lucia Garcia made it interesting at the death.

Nevertheless, France hung on to secure a dramatic, perhaps unforgettable win.

Geyoro goal proves the difference at the break

The final got underway in lovely, sunny conditions and Spain almost had the perfect start. A corner wasn't cleared at all well by France and the ball bounced kindly for Aitana Bonmati to send a screaming half-volley towards goal. Mylene Chavas was beaten in the French goal, but her effort crashed off the bar to safety.

Despite that initial effort, it was a slow beginning to the match as both sides tried to figure each other out. France's first effort at the Spanish goal came through captain, Thea Greboval. Her free-kick was just over the bar, but the French were beginning to build up a head of steam.

A few half chances followed for either side, but it was France who took the lead just before the break. A lovely pass from Greboval cut open the Spain defence and sent Grace Geyoro through on goal. Faced with Amaia Pena, the young winger kept her cool to slid a classy finish just out of the goalkeeper's reach to break the deadlock.

Following that goal, the heavens opened and a cracked of thunder drowned out the referee's half-time whistle. Unfortunately that was an omen for what was about to happen, as the rain fell unrelenting for the next two hours. The best efforts of those on the pitch somehow got the game back on after a two hour delay.

The scene at half-time. | Image credit: UEFA.com
The scene at half-time. | Image credit: UEFA.com

Second half filled with drama

There was one change after the game finally got back underway, as Lucia Garcia replaced Bonmati. The restart was debatable, and so was the decision to award a penalty for Nahikari García's trip inside the area. Nevertheless, Ezter Urban pointed to the spot and Garcia, the skipper, stepped up and saw her penalty superbly saved by Chavas. 

Spain were trying their utmost to spark a recovery, as Nahikari Garcia attempt to push them on to grab one back. However, it would be the French who would strike again. The conditions played their part as a mix-up between Marta Cazalla and Pena saw the ball stick in the turf, Katoto nip in and finish into an empty net.

France were cruising in the final stages and should have added to their lead when Estelle Cascarino headed narrowly past the post with a free header. Instead, Spain got a late boost when Lucia Garcia went past the aforementioned defender before sliding her shot under the despairing Chavas and over the line to halve the deficit.

The late drama continued with Delphine Cascarino passing up an excellent opportunity, but that was not the best chance in the closing stages. Chavas spilled a shot through the bodies in front of goal, and it fell perfectly for Nahikari García. The simplest tap in was somehow sent over the bar; the final whistle sounded moments later. The Spaniards were inconsolable, the French overjoyed. How the game continued we will never know, but it certainly wasn't the dull second half many expected.