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Spain tops Germany to claim third U-21 EURO title this decade (video)

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Spain’s near-monopoly on the Under-21 European Championship trophy grew stronger on Sunday, as La Rojita celebrated their third title (of five tournaments held) this decade with a 2-1 victory over Germany in the final in Udine, Italy.

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Sweden (2015) and Germany (2017) are the only two nations other than Spain to rein supreme over Europe’s U-21 age group this decade. Spain won back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2013, the same period in which Spain’s senior team won EURO 2008, World Cup 2010 and EURO 2012 in successive major tournament appearances.

Fabian Ruiz scored game’s opening goal in just the 7th minute, and a worthy final-winner it looked to be more than an hour. After picking the ball up near midfield, the Napoli midfielder surged forward before uncorking a low, curling effort just inside the far post of Alexander Nubel’s goal.

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Nubel was called upon to make saves just four times in the game — half of which came during a five-second sequence in the 69th minute. After making the initial save on Ruiz’s shot from distance, Nubel spilled the ball in front of his six-yard box. Dani Olmo (Dinamo Zagreb) pounced quickly and lifted the ball over Nubel as he scrambled back to his feet.

Nadiem Amiri (Hoffenheim) gave Germany a late lifeline when he struck the ball from nearly 30 yards out — aided by the deflection of a defender — in the 88th minute. That’s as close are the Germans would get, though.

Golden Boot winner Luca Waldschmidt (Freiburg) was rendered largely ineffective in the final after scoring seven goals (five in the group stage, two in the semifinals) earlier in the tournament.

Sweden surprises Germany to round out World Cup semis

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The semifinal field is set at the 2019 Women’s World Cup after Sweden upset Germany, the no. 2-ranked team in the world, on Saturday to join the U.S. women’s national team, England and the Netherlands in Lyon, France, later this week.

[ HIGHLIGHTS: USWNT holds off France in riveting quarterfinal ]

The fourth and final quarterfinal got out to a quick start, as both sides were on the board by the 22-minute mark. Lina Magull opened the scoring with a volley in the 16th minute, but the Germans were quickly knocked back by Sofia Jakobsson’s equalizer in the 22nd.


[ MORE: Netherlands outlasts Italy to reach World Cup semis ]

After conceding zero goals in four games at the tournament, Germany’s defense picked the most inopportune time to slip up. Stina Blackstenius poked home a loose ball following a spectacular save in the 48th minute, but no one in a white shirt could get their body in front of Blackstenius’ follow-up effort.

Sweden, making its fourth appearance in the Women’s World Cup semifinals, will meet the Netherlands in the second semifinal, on Wednesday.

Watch Live: Italy v. Netherlands, Germany v. Sweden in WWC QF

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The first of two 2019 Women’s World Cup semifinals is set after England and the U.S. women’s national team each advanced this week, leaving just two spots up for grabs.

[ LIVE: Stream Italy v. Netherlands, followed by Germany v. Sweden ]

Those places will be won on Saturday, when Italy faces the Netherlands in quarterfinal no. 3, followed by Germany versus Sweden.

Saturday’s winners will meet in semifinal no. 2 in Lyon on Wednesday.

[ HIGHLIGHTS: USWNT holds off France in riveting quarterfinal ]

Click on the link above to watch the game live online or via the NBC Sports App in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes.

Germany to meet Spain again in EURO U21 final

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BOLOGNA, Italy (AP) Defending champion Germany will again meet Spain in the Under-21 European Championship final after both won their semifinals on Thursday.

Luca Waldschmidt and Nadiem Amiri scored late as Germany came from behind to beat Romania 4-2, while Spain routed France 4-1.

Spain lost 1-0 to Germany in the 2017 final and will now have its chance for revenge in Udine on June 30.

In the first semifinal, in Bologna, Amiri gave Germany the lead in the 21st minute after racing from inside his own half but George Puscas leveled from the spot following a foul by Timo Baumgartl on Ianis Hagi.

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And Romania, which was making only its second appearance in the competition, took the lead on the stroke of halftime when Puscas headed in.

Germany leveled shortly after the break when Waldschmidt converted a spot kick after Hagi was penalized for pulling on Mahmoud Dahoud’s shirt.

As the match appeared headed for extra time Germany scored after Amiri backheeled a free kick into Waldschmidt’s path and the Freiburg forward fired into the bottom right corner.

It got worse for Romania as defender Alex Pascanu was sent off for a last-man foul on Lukas Nmecha and Amiri sealed the match with another free kick.

There was also a penalty for each side in Reggio Emilia.

Jean-Philippe Mateta gave France the lead from the spot in the 16th after Junior Firpo pushed over Jeff Reine-Adelaide.

But Marc Roca equalized when he tapped in a rebound and Mikel Oyarzabal fired Spain in front with a penalty in first-half stoppage time after being tripped by Ibrahima Konate.

Dani Olmo extended Spain’s advantage immediately after the break and substitute Borja Mayoral scored four minutes after coming off the bench.

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Walker extends Man City deal; Hummels returns to Dortmund

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Kyle Walker has extended his contract at Manchester City until the summer of 2024.

Walker, 29, has signed a two-year contract extension to his current deal at City with the England right back a huge part of their back-to-back Premier League titles wins.

Speaking about his new deal at the Etihad Stadium, Walker was delighted to extend his time playing under Pep Guardiola.

“I’m thrilled to have signed a new deal. Playing for City has been everything I’d hoped it would be and more,” Walker said. “It was an easy decision. I want to be competing for trophies, playing at the highest level, and I feel I have improved hugely as a player during my time here. The Club’s vision – both on and off the pitch – matches mine perfectly and I’m looking forward to spending the new five years here, hopefully winning more silverware.”

Walker has had his critics for some of his defensive work, but there’s no doubt he has improved on the ball under Guardiola and he is now versatile enough to play at center back if needed too.

His power and pace down the right flank gives City an extra option in attack and he has fulfilled his wish of winning trophies following his $63 million transfer from Tottenham in the summer of 2017 with two PL titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup to his name.

Walker has seen off the challenge from Danilo to his right back slot but it is believed City Joao Cancelo will arrive from Juventus this summer to push Walker further at right back. If he does lose his slot to Cancelo he can also play at left back at a push and at center back, so that versatility will be hugely important for Guardiola moving forward.

Everyone says you should never go back, but Mats Hummels has.

The German defender, 30, has returned to Borussia Dortmund after a three-year spell at Bayern Munich, as he heads back to the club where he won back-to-back Bundesliga titles from 2010-12.

Hummels returns to Dortmund on a three-year contract for a transfer fee in the region of $35 million, as that is only $4 million less than Bayern bought him for in 2016. Since then he has won four-straight league titles with Bayern Munich, his boyhood club, but couldn’t help them get any closer to winning the UEFA Champions League title again.

Even though he hasn’t played as well as he would have liked for Bayern and Germany over the past season or so, Hummels is still a very reliable center back and is also capable of playing out of the back. Given Dortmund’s raft of young defenders he could also be key in their development and the fact he left Dortmund in the right way and was a hero in their back-to-back league titles means he will be welcomed back with open arms.

Dortmund have now added Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt and Hummels during the offseason as head coach Lucien Favre has also signed a new contract. The second-place Bundesliga team from last season have certainly got their business done early as they look to jump ahead of Bayern who just pipped them to the title in 2018-19.

Hummels’ influence on and off the pitch at the Westfalenstadion will be hugely important for Dortmund.