Mitchell Weiser’s looping header was enough to condemn Hector Bellerin’s Spain to defeat in the final of the UEFA under-21 European Championships in Poland.
Spain, who had won two of the last three tournaments, had been tipped as favourites in many quarters but couldn’t find an equaliser after going behind on 40 minutes.
Speaking after the game, Bellerin made clear that he was proud of his compatriots and that he’d take stock of an emotional night ahead of rejoining his Arsenal teammates for pre-season.
“I feel we played against a very good team,” Bellerin told Sky Sports.
“They knew how to play from the first minute of the game. I think weren’t as confident as the other games because we couldn’t play the ball the way we wanted.
“In the second half the team reacted but it was a bit late for us. You can’t always win in football. Credit to Germany they played a great game, they created a lot of chances, they deserved their goal.
“We must reflect on the game, learn and take the taste of defeat. It can make us hungrier for the future.
“Our qualifiers through the two years was one of the toughest things we’ve ever played. We had to very difficult countries to play very difficult games in very difficult conditions.
“We’ve played like ten games in a row where we couldn’t lose because if we lost we knew we’d be out. After all of that the team got itself to the final.
“Sometimes it’s not meant to be and it wasn’t meant to be today but the team is proud of the work, we have great staff and a lot of people in Spain supporting us and all over the world. This is just going to make us hungrier.
“Obviously, when you come to these kind of tournaments, you want to win. We knew we had a great team, we knew that it could happen. Obviously, we’re disappointed.
“We’ve just got to be proud of the team, we’re a generation with a lot of football in them. There are people who have another opportunity to play this tournament and I’m sure that after this experience they are going to do really well. It’s about enjoying the next couple of hours because we’ve been together since under-15s, under-16s, it’s our last chance to be together. I’m very proud of everyone and it was a good tournament for us.”
The right-back also touched on his plans for the summer saying: “I have a contract over there [in London], I have to report back at Arsenal.
“Now’s the time to enjoy myself with my teammates in Spain for a few days, enjoy myself with the family, have a little break, enjoy the time and then we’ll see each other next season.”