Bleuets are European champions

[FRANCE] A month after the embarrassing performance of its national team in South Africa, France celebrated a European championship on Friday night.

It won the Under-19 European Championship in dramatic fashion with a 2-1 win over Spain before a packed house in Caen.

UEFA President Michel Platini was on hand at the stade  Michel-d'Ornano for the final, which the Bleuets won on goals by Arsenal's Gilles Sunu and Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette.

Spain, a 4-0 winner France two years ago in the U-17 European final, was favored and dominated the first half with the short-passing game that was the trademark of the national team during its run to the 2010 World Cup title.

Spain took the lead on Rodri's goal in the 18th minute, but France recovered in the second half and won on goals brilliantly set up by Lyon's Yannis Tafer and Chelsea winger Gael Kakuta.

In contrast to the scandalous attitude of national team players at the World Cup, the Bleuets were a breath of fresh air, but their coach, Francis Smerecki, tried to downplay comparisons between the two teams.

"The only goal of my team is to develop its game," he said. "They should not be therapeutic agents for French soccer."

July 30 in Caen
France 2 Spain 1.
Goals: Sunu 48, Lacazette 84; Rodri 18.
France --
Diallo, Kolodziejczak, Nego, Mavinga, Faure, Fofana, Sunu (Lacazette, 69), Griezmann (Tafer,  46), Coquelin, Bakambu, Kakuta.
Spain -- Alex, Martin Montoya, Planas, Marc Bartra, Pulido (Ezequiel, 87), Oriol Romeu, Keko (Muniain, 64), Thiago Alcantara, Rodri (Ruben Rochina, 73), Canales, Dani Pacheco.
Att.: 15,000.

Note: France, Spain, Croatia, England, Portugal and Austria qualified for the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia.

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