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Germany and Italy well ahead of Ukraine, Slovakia

UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round Group 8 hosts Germany pipped Italy on goal difference after a 2-2 draw to decide a mini-tournament they dominated.

Görkem Saglam (left) celebrates his group-clinching equaliser for Germany
Görkem Saglam (left) celebrates his group-clinching equaliser for Germany ©Getty Images

UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round Group 8 hosts Germany and Italy dominated the mini-tournament, with only goal difference separating them.

Germany ended up top after grabbing a late 2-2 draw in the decider against the Azzurrini and can now look forward to May's finals in Bulgaria. Slovakia had the consolation of third place above Ukraine.

FULL RESULTS/STANDINGS

Winners: Germany started with 3-0 wins against Slovakia and Ukraine, just one of the six goals coming in the first half. In the decisive match against Italy, Gökhan Gül scored the opener but was sent off after conceding a penalty, which resulted in captain Andres Llamas converting the rebound. Simone Lo Faso fooled two Germany defenders with a nice dummy to make it 2-1 soon after, but ten-man Germany pushed for, and ultimately scored, the equaliser through Görkem Saglam three minutes from time.

Other performances: Italy also won twice without conceding, against Ukraine and Slovakia, to ensure progress before Thursday's last fixture. A technically strong Slovakia beat a highly motivated Ukraine 2-1 for third place.

Key moment: Germany midfielder Niklas Schmidt's 20-metre thunderbolt against Ukraine.

Star performer: Germany captain Felix Passlack was the motor of the hosts' play and a threat to all of the other teams. His free-kick against Ukraine from the right side into the top left-hand corner was one of the most beautiful goals of the tournament. Italy defender Federico Giraudo and forward Patrick Cutrone also showed they are ready for a long and successful career in professional football.

Reaction:
Christian Wück, Germany coach
Big respect to my team, the lads went to their limit in all three games. It was incredibly important that we were rewarded [with the equaliser] for our enormous effort.

Niklas Dorsch, Germany midfielder
It felt like a win for us. We are very happy to have qualified for the finals as group winners.