France and Italy will contest Saturday’s UEFA Under 19 Championship final after both won their semi-finals tonight in entertaining fashion. In 60 years of the annual championship, the two nations have never met in the final. France’s last appearance was their 2010 win over Spain, while Italy lost to Germany in 2008.
Yassine Benzia scored for France after just 16 seconds in the semi-final against holders Spain. Immediately, Spain attacked and were awarded a penalty for handball less than 20 seconds from the restart. Moi Gomez converted and the two sides were level again without even 2 minutes showing on the scoreboard. It was Benzia who won the game with less than 7 minutes to go, arriving at the far post to get the faintest of touches to a cross to ensure a French 2-1 win.
In the second semi-final in the Lithuanian capital, England and Italy went head to head. Fabio Aveni eventually broke the deadlock on 67 minutes when he calmly converted a penalty after being felled in the box. With England throwing everything forwards in search of a last-gasp equaliser, Aveni was left unmarked on a counter attack and he sealed the 2-0 Italian win in stoppage time with a simple tap-in.