2023 Women's Under-17 EURO semi-final report: France 10-2 Switzerland, Spain 3-1 England
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Spain beat England with two late goals and France overwhelmed Switzerland to reach the final in Tallinn.
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Spain will face France in Friday's UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final in Tallinn after last-four successes.
France overwhelmed Switzerland 10-2 but Spain needed two late goals to defeat England 3-1.
France 10-2 Switzerland (Kadriorg Stadium, Tallinn)
Spain 3-1 England (Lilleküla Stadium, Tallinn)
Spain vs France (18:00 CET/19:00 local time, Lilleküla Stadium, Tallinn)
There were early statements of France's intent when Liana Joseph twice forced Yasmine Ammar into saves. And on 13 minutes France captain Maeline Mendy struck as she picked up the ball from Naolia Traore on the right, got to the byline, and somehow looped the ball in.
Three minutes later Mendy scored again, played through by Joseph before confidently beating Ammar. Switzerland had the occasional chance on the counter but were three down when Maeline Mendy's corner from the right was headed back at the far post by Joseph and Naolia Traore turned the ball in.
Joseph soon had a goal of her own when Mélinda Mendy intercepted a Swiss defensive pass and set up her team-mate in the box. Iman Beney pulled one back before half-time after herself pouncing on a loose ball from an opponent.
However, by the hour mark France had two more. First an Ammar clearance deflected into the path of substitute Elisa Rambaud, who calmly lobbed in from distance. Then Maeline Mendy slipped through Chancelle Effa Effa to tap into an empty net.
Another substitute, Anja Klingenstein, reduced arrears with an angled low finish after being set up by Sydney Schertenleid. There was more to come for France, though, as Rambaud played Maeline Mendy clear to complete her hat-trick, and then combined with Traore to set up Effa Effa.
Ornella Graziani, not long on for Traore, got maybe the pick of the goals with a solo effort and fierce finish. The tenth arrived when Effa Effa played the ball across for Rambaud to convert.
Peggy Provost, France coach: "It was a very good performance obviously. We go through to the final in the best of ways, with ten goals. We had 15 scoring opportunities and we scored ten so that is very good. That sends a big message to our next opponents. We did our offensive work collectively, so we are very happy."
Naolia Traore, France forward: "We are very happy; we have worked for a year to reach the final so we are going to celebrate. Each player helped the team, as usual. It paid off today and we’ll try to do the same in the final. I’m very happy to be part of the team. We have great players and, hopefully, we will go far together."
Veronica Maglia, Switzerland coach: "Unfortunately we couldn't implement our match plan today. We never really got into the game and couldn't win the duels. Now we all have to do self-reflection and draw the right lessons for the future from this bitter defeat."
Spain tore into England from the start and were ahead after five minutes when Vicky López headed in a cross from Cris Redondo. There was not much respite after that, with Sophia Poor in the England goal constantly called into action.
Poor was beaten by a 34th-minute free-kick, but the ball cannonned off the England crossbar. Spain kept on attacking and England were grateful to get to half-time only 1-0 down.
England started the second half positively but Poor was soon having to save again, diving to deny Pau Comendador from close range. But in the 55th minute, England were level as Katie Reid rose to head in Ava Baker's crossed free-kick.
Spain continued to have more possession, but chances were few. Cris Redondo did break clear with five minutes left, only to shoot over.
Penalties loomed but then Ainoa Gómez, just after her 87th-minute introduction, picked up a half-cleared ball and let fly with a shot that deflected past Poor. Pau then sealed victory with a low finish following a cut-back from substitute Noa Ortega.
- Key stat: Spain are into a record tenth final, one more than Germany, and hope to become champions for the fifth time.
Kenio Gonzalo, Spain coach: "It was a very even game, England are a great team and I congratulate them on the game that they brought to us today. However, the most important thing, when Spain play, is that they adapt, make good decisions and that every player that came on off the bench adds something. So, congratulations to the 20 players that I have here. There are some that couldn’t be here, so I’m thinking of them too."
Pau Comendador, Spain goalscorer: "For Spain, we have fulfilled half of our objective by making it to the final with all the hard work in the first and second phases of training. It’s a reflection of all the hard work that we’ve been doing. We’re really happy.
"It’s a source of pride to represent my country, to represent Spain, I can’t believe it. It’s a dream. We’ve been working so hard and it’s all to get to the final and play against a strong team like France."
Mo Marley, England coach: "I think we started a little bit slowly in this particular game. Then we had a little reset at half-time. Spain were the better team in the first half but I think we turned it round in the second half and the players responded brilliantly. It was very tight at the end, both teams still trying to win it.
"A bit of a cruel deflection for our girls and pretty much the third goal is where we are trying to chase it. It’s pretty hard for the girls to take, because of the time. But we’ve said to them, we’re really proud of what they’ve achieved already, the football, how resilient they’ve been across the whole tournament."