Budapest (AFP) – Holders Spain secured a place in the semi-finals of the Under-21 European Championship with an extra time winner against Croatia on Monday, as a strong France side went out to an injury-time goal against the Netherlands.
Javier Puado of Espanyol came off the bench and looked to have won it for Spain when he scored midway through the second half in Maribor, Slovenia, but a last-gasp penalty by Dinamo Zagreb’s Luka Ivanusec forced extra time.
Puado got the winner in the 110th minute when he rounded the goalkeeper and fired into the roof of the net after a long ball forward by Marc Cucurella.
Spain won the last Under-21 Euro in Italy in 2019, defeating Germany 2-1 in the final with goals from Fabian Ruiz and Dani Olmo, both of whom are in Luis Enrique’s senior squad for the upcoming European Championship.
Meanwhile, Myron Boadu’s goal three minutes into added time in Budapest left France stunned and took the Netherlands through to the last four with a 2-1 quarter-final win in Budapest.
Dayot Upamecano, the Bayern Munich-bound centre-back who has already been capped at senior international level, headed France into a 23rd-minute lead from Moussa Diaby’s corner.
However, AZ Alkmaar striker Boadu levelled early in the second half and Jonathan Ikone hit the post for France.
Extra time was looming before Justin Kluivert squared for Boadu to win it right at the end.
The remaining quarter-finals will be played later with Portugal facing Italy in Ljubljana and Denmark taking on Germany.
The semi-finals will be played on Thursday with the final in Ljubljana on Sunday. The group phase was completed in March.
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