2016 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship - Spain vs the Netherlands Preview: Can last year's runners-up continue their 100 per cent form?

After winning all three of their group games, the Spaniards will look to add a fourth victory to their name by downing the Dutch.

2016 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship - Spain vs the Netherlands Preview: Can last year's runners-up continue their 100 per cent form?
Will the Netherlands have more reason to celebrate tomorrow evening? (Photo: Sportsfile)

After almost going all the way last year, Spain find themselves in the knockout stages of the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship again this year, with the Netherlands the latest obstacle standing in their way.

The runners-up in 2015, having lost 3-1 to Sweden in the final, the Spaniards stormed their way through a difficult looking group that even Germany failed to qualify from.

However, the Netherlands enjoyed a strong group stage too and will be looking to upset their opponents on Thursday afternoon, who are slowly becoming the front-runners for the competition now.

One looking for a fourth win; one looking to bounce back

Spain are certainly the favourites to win this tie, such has been their impressive group stage form.

After downing one of the pre-tournament front-runners, Germany, in their opening fixture, the 2004 winners went on to defeat Austria and Switzerland more than convincingly, with wins as big as 4-0 and 5-0 respectively.

The Dutch will be a tougher test, however. Having beaten hosts Slovakia 6-0 to start, the Netherlands narrowly overcame a talented Norway side 1-0 to go three points clear at the top of their group and all but ensure qualification.

They did lose 2-1 to France in their last outing, but with their opponents having to win to qualify and the Oranje less so, the result was understandable.

Now, they will simply be raring to go and to bounce back tomorrow afternoon.

If you don't shoot, you don't score

What makes this encounter a highly anticipated one is not just the quality in general that will be on show, but the attacking styles of play we'll see from the two teams.

Spain have scored 10 goals in three games at this tournament, while the Dutch have netted eight in their trio of outings.

Furthermore, the Dutch can boast Jill Roord in their ranks, who is joint top scorer at the competition with four goals - France's Marie-Antoinette Katoto having scored the same amount. Even more impressively, those four goals have come from just eight shots.

Trailing just behind Roord are Spanish duo Lucia Garcia and Nahikari Garcia, both tied on three goals a piece. However, Maite Oroz does sit at the top of the assists pile, level with Switzerland's Geraldine Reuteler on three. 

The attacking statistics from this tournament are littered with Spanish and Dutch talent, and we can expect them to continue to make their mark in the final third tomorrow.

Can Nahikari Garcia climb the goal-scoring charts? (Photo: Sportsfile)
Can Nahikari Garcia climb the goal-scoring charts by bagging one or two tomorrow? (Photo: Sportsfile)

Could experience be the difference?

Another advantage Spain have coming into this game is experience.

Winners 12 years ago, their unbeaten run to the final last year gave them their fourth runners-up medal in total, while they also claimed fourth place in 2001.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, did win the competition two years ago, but their only other real run in this competition was one to the last four in 2010.

History says Spain will win tomorrow, and so does form. But the Dutch are on the up and showed that in 2014 when they claimed the trophy. Either way, our first semi-final promises to be an exciting one.