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Germany reclaim their crown

After two semi-final exits, Germany finally secured their third title with a penalty shoot-out win against France, themselves making it three defeats in five deciders.
by Steven Rogers

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Germany reclaim their crown

After two semi-final exits, Germany finally secured their third title with a penalty shoot-out win against France, themselves making it three defeats in five deciders.

Having suffered two semi-final defeats in a row and each time watched Spain lift the trophy, Germany reclaimed the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship with their third victory in five years – condemning France to the runners-up position they had previously filled in 2008 and 2011.

Germany and Spain, who had won all four previous editions between them, were matched in the second qualifying round. Although Spain had home advantage in Madrid, it was Germany who kept up their record of always qualifying for the four-team final tournament, winning the decider 3-0.

Making it the finals in Nyon for the first time were the 'home' nation Switzerland, who saw off challenges from past qualifiers Iceland and England, but in the semi-finals they fell 5-1 to France. Carmen Pulver did give Switzerland the lead, but within six minutes Sandie Toletti and Laura Blanchard had put France ahead. Pauline Cousin made it 3-1 before the break and after the break a Toletti cross was volleyed in by Kadidiatou Diani who, in added time, won a penalty. Toletti fired against the bar but made amends by winning a second spot-kick, dispatched by Ghoutia Karchouni.

Germany's semi-final opponents were the team they had also beaten in the last four in 2008, Denmark, and they repeated the trick by a 2-0 scoreline. Denmark proved stout opponents but substitute Pauline Bremer broke the deadlock with nine minutes left and in added time her cross was turned in by Sara Däbritz.

Denmark were able to match their third-place finish of four years earlier, but needed a penalty shoot-out to defeat Switzerland, having had the better of the 80 minutes with Anna Fisker seeing an effort hit the bar and another cleared off the line. It seemed Switzerland were heading for victory on spot-kicks but with what would have been winning efforts, Mille Poulsen shot wide and Francesca Calo's effort was palmed away by Naja Bahrenscheer. Isabel Nederby then put Denmark 5-4 up with their second sudden death attempt, with Nicole Studer firing against the post as the Swiss missed out.

That proved an omen for the final as after a tight contest in 30C-plus heat, France and Germany ended 1-1. In the first half Léa Declercq, Laura Blanchard and Toletti all went close for France, as did Germany pair Bremer and Däbritz for Germany. The opening came in the 57th minute when Candice Gherbi's free-kick could only be cleared as far as Diani, who controlled well before powering a shot past Merle Frohms. It took Germany only ten minutes to restore parity as Vivien Biel whipped in a set-piece delivery that Bremer guided in to share top-scorer honours with Diani.

In the shoot-out was initially advantage France after Romane Bruneau saved Däbritz's opening effort, but Frohms denied Chloé Froment and she then won it 4-3 by blocking France's fifth penalty from Karchouni. So the top three finishers were in the same order as the inaugural 2008 edition, while Germany and France also secured tickets to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan.

http://www.uefa.com/womensunder17/history/season=2012/index.html#germany+reclaim+their+crown

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