Germany Are The UEFA European Under-17 Champions
By Callum Campbell Aplin
The Germans defeated holders France after a goalless 90 minutes sent the sides to penalties. Schalke midfielder Assan Ouédraogo scored the decisive kick in sudden death after France duo Fodé Sanassy Sylla and Saïmon Bouabré missed back to back penalties.
The first half was a very quiet affair, both teams looked to play it safe and it left very little opportunities for either side to take the lead.
There was a small penalty shout when Paris Brunner ran behind the France backline and latched onto a failed clearance from Joachim Kayi Sanda. Yvann Titi gave the Dortmund forward a slight nudge in the back to put him off balance and prevent Brunner from getting his shot off, however the referee decided there was very little in it.
The second half was a lot more eventful, with France looking the side most likely to break the deadlock from the jump.Mohamed-Amine Bouchenna danced his way into the area minutes after the restart before having his first shot blocked by a sliding Eric da Silva Moreira and then snapping at the follow up but dragging it just wide of the far post.
Rennes forward Mathis Lambourde was then picked out and just when he looked certain to open the scoring, Germany defender Finn Jeltsch was able to get across and make an incredible challenge to keep his side in it.France continued to dominate but still without a goal to show for it, and it was now Saïmon Bouabré who showed of his dazzling footwork to find space it the box before gently setting the ball up for Tidiam Gomis, but once again Moreira was there, his block taking all the power out of Gomis’s attempt allowing the ball to bounce straight into Max Schmitt’s gloves.
Less than a minute later Gomis was again involved cutting in from the left hand side his effort was fired low across the back post and had Lambourde stretching out to get onto the end of it and tap it into an open net, but unfortunately the forward couldn’t get enough on it.
Despite France’s control, Germany did have their opportunities late on to snatch a winner. First coming close when substitute, and joint Euro U-17 top scorer, Robert Ramsak rattled the crossbar with a freekick just outside the area. Then again in the final minute of the game when Brunner was sent through on goal before Sylla was able to make a beautiful last ditch challenge to send the game to penalties.
France were first up to the spot and it was Sanda who slotted it home. Noah Darvich, a standout in the competition was then first up for Germany but he saw his effort saved by Paul Argney. Lambourde, Joan Tincres and Nhoa Sangui then all scored their penalties to keep France in the driver’s seat. However, Charles Hermann, Bence Dardai and Taylan Bulut were there for Germany to keep the pressure on.
Sylla, who’s incredible tackle late on on Brunner took the game to penalties, had the opportunity to win it for France, but Schmitt was at hand to keep his side in it.
Brunner took Germany’s fifth penalty with all the pressure on but slotted it home comfortably, capping what was an incredible tournament for him.
Bouabre then hit the post to miss France’s second penalty in a row, which left Ouédraogo with the opportunity to become a hero and win it for his side, which is exactly what he did sending Argney the wrong way.
Germany are now the UEFA European Under-17 Champions for the second time in their history, beating the team that broke their hearts in the final eight years prior.