France 2-1 Netherlands: French fight back to claim third U17 EURO title after Kumbedi double
Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Two quick-fire goals from Saël Kumbedi handed France their first Under-17 EURO title since 2015 and ended the holders' grip on the trophy.
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France are celebrating their third UEFA European Under-17 Championship title after two quick-fire goals from Saël Kumbedi sealed a comeback win against the Netherlands in Netanya, denying the holders a hat-trick of triumphs.
Match in brief: France battle back from behind
France bolted out of the blocks and Mathys Tel and Tom Saettel struck a post each as José Alcocer's side threatened to overwhelm the holders. However, neither goalkeeper was seriously tested before the break, but it was a different story shortly after the restart as Lisandru Olmeta was called into the action – to pick the ball out of his net after Jaden Slory had dinked a shot over him to put the Netherlands ahead.
Going behind only served to spur France forward, and after Tristan Kuijsten had preserved the lead with excellent saves from Tel and Désiré Doué, he could do little to prevent Saël Kumbedi thumping in an equaliser.
The France right-back had barely stopped celebrating his first U17 goal when he added a second two minutes later, tucking home the rebound after Kuijsten had parried Tel's shot into his path. The momentum of the game had shifted – and the trophy was soon to change hands.
José Alcocer, France coach: "We're happy because we played the game that we wanted to play. We said that we had to play the final with our qualities – I think we did that. The result was deserved and I think we entertained people in the stadium."
Saël Kumbedi, France match winner: "I'm speechless. I never would have thought I'd score twice in the final. I'm so happy for the whole team, the staff. It's been an incredible tournament, and to score twice… I can't find the words to describe it."
Mathys Tel, France captain: "This is something we had been hoping for. We wanted to go as far as possible. When we reached the final, we wanted to win it, and now we're champions of Europe. It's incredible."
Mischa Visser, Netherlands coach: "We performed very well in the tournament but were not able to adapt to France's high intensity. They were very impressive, so strong. We couldn't adapt in the first half; we did better in the second. We went 1-0 up, but it was against the run of play. We were lucky it was 0-0 at half-time; they blew us away. The boys are emotional right now, but after that dies down, our pride will come."
- France won their third title of the U17 era after 2004 and 2015 to close within one of the Netherlands' record tally of four wins (2011, 2012, 2018 and 2019).
- The Netherlands were denied the chance to become the first team to win the U17 or U16 title three tournaments in a row, having triumphed in 2018 and 2019 prior to the two COVID-19 curtailed seasons. The only team to win a UEFA men's national-team football tournament three times in succession remain Italy, victors in the U21 EUROs of 1992, 1994 and 1996.
- The Netherlands were contesting their eighth U17 final, moving one ahead of the old record they previously jointly held with Spain.
- Kumbedi's equaliser was the 100th goal of the final tournament in Israel, and his winner the 101st.
- The defender became the ninth different France player to score in the final tournament, one more than the previous record set by Germany in 2017 and equalled by the Netherlands in 2019.
France: Olmeta; Kumbedi, Mawissa, Bitshiabu, Belocian (Vangi 73); Atangana, Zaire Emery; Byar, Doué (Gueguin 64), Saettel; Tel
Nethelands: Kuijsten; Rovers (Henry 53), Blokzijl, Huijsen, Breinburg (Agougil 75); Vos (Van den Heuvel 83), Misehouy, Milambo (Kleijn 46); Slory (Boerhout 83), Van Duiven, Babadi (Splinter 86)