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A dramatic penalty shoot-out win earned the Netherlands their second successive UEFA European Under-17 Championship title.
Captain Leon Goretzka's header looked set to have given a Germany a deserved win, but a dramatic added-time equaliser from Elton Acolatse took the game to penalties, where Nick Olij saved the crucial spot kick to become the hero for the Jong Oranje.
Despite temperatures dropping to an unusual low for May in Ljubljana, the impressive stadium welcomed an 11,674-strong crowd – the third highest attendance for an U17 final tournament match after the 2009 and 2004 finals, and the highest ever for a match not involving the hosts.
It took some time for the capacity crowd to witness a threat from either side in attack, however. Solid defensive performances have been the foundation for the success of both of these sides in this tournament – Germany had not conceded prior to the final, while the Netherlands had been breached just once. It was no surprise to see these assured back lines on top in a tight first half.
Indeed, it took until 23 minutes for the first real effort on goal. Timo Werner, starting in place of the unfortunate Said Benkarit, collected the ball on the edge of the area and curled a right-footed shot around his marker that beat the full-length dive of Olij, but clipped the top of the bar.
Three minutes from the break, the Netherlands surged forward, winning a corner when Pascal Itter's touch sent Rai Vloet's shot into the side netting, and then almost profiting but for some desperate German defending.
If that was close, only a matter of centimetres denied them a lead moments later. Tonny Trindade de Vilhena threaded a perfect pass through the German rearguard for Queensy Menig, whose drive cracked off the underside of the bar, the ball bouncing on the line and away.
An attacking second half stood in stark contrast to the first, and an early goal was the catalyst, as Goretzka rose to head his team into a 45th-minute lead from half-time substitute Marc Stendera's corner. Stendera almost set up a second six minutes later, but Niklas Süle could not keep down his thunderous header from another superb corner.
Stendera and Nico Brandenburger both saw efforts flash wide of the left post as a confident Germany dominated proceedings, their dynamic front line stretching the Dutch defence. But Olij was on hand to deny a powerful long-range strike from Goretzka.
The game looked to be done and dusted, but as it moved into added time, Germany switched off for a Thom Haye cross. Branco van den Boomen flicked the ball on and Acolatse snatched an equaliser, controlling the loose ball at the back post and volleying in to send the game to penalties. Olij saved decisively from Stendera, and the Netherlands were champions.
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