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Germany on spot for third title

France 1-1 Germany (Germany win 4-3 on pens)
Germany claimed their third title in five editions but needed penalties to inflict another final defeat on France.

Germany on spot for third title
Germany on spot for third title ©UEFA.com

Germany won their third UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship title after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out against France.

Merle Frohms was Germany's heroine thanks to spot-kick saves from Chloé Froment and Ghoutia Karchouni, turning a shoot-out in which captain Sara Däbritz's opening effort had been blocked by Romane Bruneau. Such a thrilling denouement in the searing heat looked inevitable once Germany winger Pauline Bremer's 67th-minute strike cancelled out Kadidiatou Diani's opener.

The match started at a frenetic pace, both sides harrying and closing down space quickly. The first genuine chance arrived in the 13th minute, as France captain Sandie Toletti spun and fired a curling left-foot half-volley that beat Frohms but bounced back off a post. Léa Declercq shot narrowly over as she followed up.

Germany responded with Venus El-Kasem executing a neat reverse pass to put Bremer through on goal, but Bruneau got down well to save her low shot. On the half-hour, Laura Blanchard found Declercq on the edge of the box; Frohms came out and did well to dispossess her. While the keeper tried to get back to her line, Blanchard tried her luck from distance, her shot going wide.

With half-time approaching, Germany took their turn to press forward again, Daria Streng and El-Kassem combining smartly to put Däbritz away down the left. With her team-mates in support, the German captain decided to go it alone but could not get enough power behind her shot.

Shortly after the break, Vivien Biel whipped in a free-kick from the left that somehow evaded all of her team-mates, while both sides' ability to keep possession and attack coherently was becoming more and more difficult in the 30C-plus heat.

A moment of cool in front of goal was needed to force an opening and it came in the 57th minute. France substitute Candice Gherbi's set-piece delivery from the right could only be cleared as far as Diani on the edge of the box. The FCF Juvisy Essonne player controlled well before powering an unstoppable right-foot shot past Frohms.

It took only ten minutes for Germany, champions in 2008 and 2009 but beaten in the semi-finals in the last two years, to restore parity. Biel whipped in another free-kick from the left and this time Bremer managed to guide the ball past Bruneau.

The match veered towards penalties and although it was initially advantage France after Bruneau saved from Däbritz, Frohms hauled Germany back into the contest before winning it for them. For France it was their third final defeat, having lost to Spain last year and Germany in 2008.