France 1-2 SwitzerlandSwitzerland's fate turned entirely in the last 14 minutes as they went from an early exit to a win that wrested top spot in Group B from France.
Article top media content
• France relegated to runners-up slot by Switzerland's stoppage-time winner
• Swiss 14 minutes away from elimination, with Norway set to benefit
• Elisa De Almeida puts French ahead, Géraldine Reuteler levels late on
• Jolanda Stampfli completes remarkable recovery act on 82 minutes
• Swiss join already qualified France in 1 July semi-finals at Valsvöllur
• Ex-English Premier League player Hermann Hreidarsson among stewards
France were pipped to top spot in UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship Group B in dramatic fashion as a Switzerland team who had been facing elimination until Géraldine Reuteler's late leveller, somehow conjured a last-gasp 2-1 triumph over their neighbours thanks to substitute Jolanda Stampfli.
With Sandrine Soubeyrand's group pacesetters striking early in Fylkir, the question seemed to be whether the Swiss could muster the single point needed to confirm second place above a Norwegian side beating the Republic of Ireland in the other pool match. If the impressive Reuteler, with 14 minutes remaining, saved Switzerland's campaign, their day got even better when Stampfli notched an 82nd-minute winner.
France had established a ninth-minute lead when Amira Ould Braham swung over a low free-kick which centre-back Elisa De Almeida prodded home from close range. Océane Ringenbach swept narrowly wide following an Inès Boutaleb raid, and only three smart saves from Nadja Furrer – one from Boutaleb and back-to-back stops from Cloe Bodain and De Almeida – prevented a swift French second. At the other end, Reuteler's lone Swiss insurgence was halted by De Almeida, then Alisha Lehmann broke clear and rolled a shot beyond keeper Jade Lebastard but not past Julie Piga on France's goal line.
No14 Reuteler threatened again at the beginning of the second half, firing over as Monica Di Fonzo's charges upped the tempo. Naomi Mégroz was particularly unfortunate to drift one effort off the inside of the post before sending a second attempt onto the crossbar. Amira Arfaoui was out of luck too when rattling the woodwork.
An almighty goal-mouth scramble in which De Almeida and Estelle Laurier nearly scored almost worsened Switzerland's plight, with Norway's 2-0 advantage over the Republic of Ireland at that stage heralding a Swiss elimination on goal difference. That all changed on 66 minutes, however, when Switzerland finally found the net. Stampfli touched a ball into the path of the tireless Reuteler who stayed composed to round Lebastard and equalise. Stampfli did even better two minutes into stoppage time when sprinting clear to lift her finish over Lebastard.
Sandrine Soubeyrand, France
The defeat is understandable considering the chances that Switzerland created. The result is logical. We had started well but our attacking game got worse the longer the game went and we finished the match badly. It wasn't like us today. We knew that we were already qualified and maybe in certain instances you put in less effort as a result of that. But we'd wanted to go into the semi-finals with confidence, as the form team, and in a better moment than we will do now.
Monica Di Fonzo, Switzerland
We are very happy with this performance – we played quite well, especially second half. There is an excellent mentality in the team and they knew they needed to get a result today to be sure of going to the semi-finals. We know that Jolanda Stampfli is a player that can enter into a match and do something. Because we have seen that we can beat this French side, who are a really excellent team at this level, and because of our mentality of never giving up and believing we could get to the semis, maybe we can now aim a little bit higher.