2022 Women's Under-17 EURO semi-final preview: Germany vs France, Spain vs Netherlands
Wednesday, 11 May 2022
Germany face France before Spain take on the Netherlands on Thursday for places in Sunday's final and the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in India.
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The UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship semi-finals are on Thursday with Sunday's decider not the only prize on offer.
Holders Germany kick off the action against France in Zenica, and then in Sarajevo there is a reply of a semi-final from the last completed edition in 2019, Spain vs Netherlands. The winners will not just play for the trophy on Sunday in Sarajevo but will also be assured tickets to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in India from 11 to 30 October, with a third spot on offer when then two teams beaten in the semis play off in Zenica ahead of the final.
SF1: Germany vs France (14:00, Zenica)
SF2: Spain vs Netherlands (20:00, Sarajevo)
FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup play-off:
Loser SF1 vs Loser SF2 (14:00, Zenica)
Winner SF1 v Winners SF2 (20:00, Sarajevo)
All times CET
At the semi-final stage for the 12th time in this, the 13th Women's U17 EURO, it has rather been business as usual for Germany, who won all three of their Group A games 2-0 and have nine victories in a row, including qualifying, in defending the title they reclaimed in 2019. Of their 11 past semi-finals they have won eight, seven of which were turned into gold medals, though France did inflict one of those defeats on penalties in 2011, two years after Germany had beaten Les Bleuettes at the same stage.
Germany's many strengths have included a fine set-piece prowess, for which coach Friederike Kromp credits in part assistant Melanie Behringer, and that helped produce their 2-0 win against Denmark when they previously visited Zenica on Matchday 1, both goals coming early.
France, like Germany, booked progress with a game to spare as they beat Finland and Norway in Group B, though lost the decider for first place 3-0 to Spain. However coach Cécile Locatelli, the first captain of the all-conquering Olympique Lyonnais in 2004, had made the maximum nine changes to her XI with the looming semi-final in mind.
Friederike Kromp, Germany coach: "We still have two finals ahead of us. If we bring our strengths to bear against France, I'm confident that we'll be successful. Because of course we really want to make it to the final! It will definitely be a top game because France also have a lot of quality in their own ranks. It's not for nothing that they're in the last four."
Cécile Locatelli, France coach: "Germany have a very athletic squad with a much more direct game than the teams we have encountered so far. Their wide players are very fast, their midfielders are compact and efficient in recovery and creation, but that is the case for us too."
- Key stat: Germany have won four of their six past finals meetings with France, the other two going to penalties with one victory each.
Spain vs Netherlands
Spain's three wins and 11 unanswered goals in the group stage, not to mention an overall record including qualifying of eight perfect victories, 28 scored and just one conceded, shows the prowess of a team whose predecessors have lifting the trophy in four of the five editions where Germany did not triumph. The Netherlands, meanwhile, needed to come from behind for a 1-1 draw with Denmark on Monday in Zenica to pip their opponents to Group A second place on goal difference.
But in that last final tournament, Bulgaria 2019, a Spain side fresh from topping their group with a 6-0 defeat of Portugal who had not conceded at all in their campaign, including qualifying, took on a Netherlands team that only just scraped through the group stage by a single goal, and the Dutch prevailed 3-1.
The Netherlands opened in Sarajevo with an 8-0 defeat of hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina but in their 2-0 loss there to Germany and the draw with Denmark, coach Thomas Oostendorp rued missed chances. In the Germany match Hanna Huizenga, the overall top scorer in this season's competition on ten goals, suffered an injury that has ruled her out of the rest of the tournament though Fieke Kroese, on a finals joint-leading three thanks to her hat-trick against the hosts, has nine for the campaign and has dominated games down the right.
Eight different players have scored for Spain in Bosnia and Herzegovina and even after making changes against France produced another lively attacking display.
Thomas Oostendorp, Netherlands coach: "For us anything is possible but we need to take our chances. Against Germany, if we had taken our chances we would have been ahead, it was the same against Denmark and we didn't do that. So let's hope we do that in the semi-final to help ourselves a little bit, otherwise we need to play as a team like we did in the last 30 minutes [against Denmark]."
- Key stat: All four of the Netherlands' WU17 EURO semi-finals have been against Spain: prior to the 2019 win, they lost 2-0 in 2017 and 3-0 in 2010.