If you could pick a moment to score your first international goal, a major semi-final would be a good time, and that is exactly what Bienvenue Basala-Mazana did on Friday evening.
Ten minutes from the end of Germany's UEFA European Under-17 Championship last-four tie with Italy, Reinhold Yabo edged the hosts in front. But the result was still very much in doubt until Mario Götze brilliantly combined with Basala-Mazana and the right-back scored for the first time in 15 appearances for the U17 team, confirming the hosts' place in Monday morning's final against the Netherlands at Stadion Magdeburg.
"It is a good feeling for me to score my first goal in such an important match," said Basala-Mazana, whose defensive duties had naturally dominated his day. "Italy tried to play with a lot of long balls, so it was a match where you had to be alert all the time."
Playmaker Götze, who was also involved in the first goal, was certainly relieved when the celebrations could begin. "It was a very hard match because Italy were defensively very strong," the BV Borussia Dortmund player said. "We knew before the game that they were and that we would have to be patient, we would have to wait for a goalscoring opportunity, even if one didn't come quickly. In the end I am relieved to have assisted in the goals, and now we are in the final."
Last Tuesday, Germany beat the Netherlands 2-0 in a group-stage game in Jena, but Basala-Mazana knows that will count for nothing. "I think the game against the Netherlands will be very different to the one on the third matchday," the 1. FC Köln defender said. "But we have to concentrate again, focus and try to recover before the final." Götze added: "
Magdeburg has been our goal for the last two years, that is what we have worked for."
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