Having lost 2-1 to France in Wednesday's first semi-final at the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, Germany's Rebecca Knaak and Manjou Wilde rued a series of missed opportunities for Maren Meinert's team.
While Germany had arguably the better openings either side of half-time, substitute Kadidiatou Diani suddenly fired France into a commanding position with two goals in three minutes around the hour mark. That rendered Pauline Bremer's stoppage-time penalty nothing more than a consolation.
"It is very bitter to go out like that," left-back Manjou Wilde told UEFA.com, "especially considering how many chances we had even in those last 15, 20 minutes. The goals we conceded were unnecessary, but we could still have turned it around."
Wilde's midfield team-mate Rebecca Knaak held a similar view of events at Llanelli's Parc y Scarlets. "I think it was a really even game, but it came down to us not taking our chances – we certainly had enough of them," the Bayer 04 Leverkusen player said. "Maybe we lacked a bit of luck. Their second was a header you don't hit like that every day. You could say the luckier team made the final."
Although Germany seemed to control the early proceedings in either half, France's Sandie Toletti had twice threatened a breakthrough and, according to Knaak, Les Bleuettes had tried to take the game to Germany when possible. "They were a different proposition from the Scandinavian teams [Norway, Sweden and Finland in Group B] who operate more with long balls. The French like their build-up play, so we played a bit differently ourselves," Knaak, 17, continued.
SV Werder Bremen defender Wilde also applauded the victors – yet remained convinced she and her colleagues should have progressed to Saturday's final. "We were prepared for a team with decent build-up play and they proved to be that," she said. "I think they played tiki-taka and we struggled a bit at the beginning, but after a while we turned the game. However, the goals we conceded were really unnecessary. We should have won."
The nagging frustration for the 18-year-old was that Meinert's charges had not played their usual attacking game, perhaps treating Gilles Eyquem's team with too much caution and respect. "After we conceded, we realised we would have to invest more and play a more attacking game," said Wilde, referring to Germany's late siege of the French goal which – with France captain Griedge M'Bock Bathy red-carded – might have yielded more than just Bremer's spot kick.
"It was probably not the best game we have played here but I still think we were the better side even before we conceded," she said. "We created good chances, one of which we should have taken."
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