Spain cruises into under-21 semifinals with Holland win

La Rojita looking good to retain its European youth crown in Israel

Madrid -
Isco of Spain during the UEFA European U21 Championships Group B match between Spain and Netherlands at Ha Moshava Stadium.
Isco of Spain during the UEFA European U21 Championships Group B match between Spain and Netherlands at Ha Moshava Stadium. Ian Walton (Getty Images)

Spain's under-21s comfortably beat Holland in the European Championship being played in Israel Wednesday to finish top of Group B ahead of the Oranje and thus avoid Italy in the semifinals. The Dutch team will face off against the Azurri for a place in next Tuesday's final in Jerusalem while Spain will play Norway.

Julen Lopetegui's team did not give Holland many opportunities in a 3-0 win despite the form of Cor Pot's side, which defeated Germany 3-2 and Russia 5-1 in its other group-phase matches with notable performances from highly rated Twente midfielder Lucas Fer and Borussia Mönchengladbach striker Luuk de Jong.

But Spain, as observers have noted as the senior side ages, has got a team for some time to come. Real Madrid's Álvaro Morata opened the scoring for his third goal in as many games in Israel and Isco and Álvaro Vázquez completing the rout, with the latter's Getafe teammate Pablo Sarabia shining in midfield alongside Bilbao's Iker Muniain.

Spain has yet to concede a goal in the tournament and will be the overwhelming favorite when it takes the field against Norway on Saturday. Its back four is experienced and any team that can afford to leave Asier Illarramendi on the bench is blessed in midfield as well.

Spain is the defending champion at under-21 level having won the previous tournament in 2011 in Denmark. David de Gea, who was in goal that day, has been in excellent form so far for La Rojita and made a couple of telling saves against Holland.

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