Spain vs. Serbia, Part III

by Cindy Garcia-Bennett

Spain believe they can be third-time lucky when they take on Serbia in Sunday's final at the U20 European Championship for Women in Sofia.

Serbia crashed Spain's hopes of glory at both U18 Women and and U20 Men European Championships earlier this summer.

This time around, the Spanish are hoping to have the upper hand.

Finals are not quality games but generally, they are all about character and grit.
Susana Garcia
"I have an incredible group," said Spain coach Susana Garcia.

"They don't stop working. 

"Against Turkey in the semi-final we had a very tough game, we were trailing at half-time but even when faced with adversity this group responds."

Spain's fighting spirit was evident right from the start.

The Spanish team had to overcome a big setback with their coach Jordi Fernandez having to withdraw from the team several days prior to the start of the tournmanet after undergoing an eye operation.

Garcia stepped in and has done a magnificent job to carry unbeaten Spain to the final.

"When I took over the team, the work was already done," admitted Garcia.

"We miss Jordi and the first thing we did when we beat Turkey was to call him and sing to him.

"Jordi tried to travel to Sofia but the doctors wouldn't let him. The medal is for him."

Whether it will be gold or silver, remains to be seen. Spain edged Serbia 79-76  earlier in the tournament but they need no reminder of the challenge they face on Saturday.

"It's going to be a different game," said Garcia.

"Finals are not quality games but generally, they are all about character and grit.

"I am convinced we will win because my team has proved to have plenty of character."

Fernandez will be cheering his players back in Spain and whatever the outcome might be, he cannot be proud enough of what Garcia and Co have achieved.

"I am extremely happy," he said.

"Especially for Susana because she has a big task on her hand and had little time to react.

"The players have had a fantastic tournament.

"We have a team of players who are very competitive, this is a united group, that is able to compete just as they did last year."

Fernandez predicts a close final. 

"This game is like a duel," he said.

"These are two generations that have faced each other many times in top games.

"Serbia has a great players but we know what we are up against."



22.07.2007 - by Cindy Garcia-Bennett
22.07.2007 - By Cindy Garcia-Bennett, PA Sport

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