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Beckmann takes Germany through with Spain win

Germany 1-0 Spain
Eunice Beckmann's 57th-minute effort took Germany through to the semi-finals, leaving Spain needing to beat Norway on Sunday to join them.

Germany celebrate their goal against Spain
Germany celebrate their goal against Spain ©Bongarts

Eunice Beckmann's second-half effort took Germany through to the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-finals with a game to spare, though all is not lost for defeated Spain.

Germany were on the front foot for much of the game but could not quite take the final step until Beckmann, guiltier of an earlier miss, rounded off a rapid break. With Spain unable to conjure a reply it was enough to seal top spot in Group B for Maren Meinert's side and a place at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. Spain may join them there – and in the last four – if they beat Norway on Sunday.

Germany started brightly in a sweltering Bellaria, attacking with pace and purpose whenever Spain dared venture forward; they could have been 2-0 up inside 15 minutes. First, the well-placed Ramona Petzelberger applied an air shot, and while Beckmann had no problem connecting soon after, her snatched effort was lashed wastefully wide.

Nicole Rolser was involved in both moves, sparking the latter with a marauding run that saw her advance 40 metres and skip three challenges before laying the ball off. Her departure through injury on the half-hour therefore robbed Germany of their most penetrative player and Spain, who had kept their shape well throughout the initial examination, came into the game.

Their passing may have been a bit more lateral than coach Ángel Vilda might have liked but the link-up between defence and midfield was much improved on Monday's draw with the Netherlands. The problem was further up the pitch, feeding the starved forwards. By the end of the half Germany had restored order; 12 minutes into the second period, they were ahead.

Isabella Schmid was creator, catching the otherwise outstanding Andrea Pereira in possession and releasing Beckmann. The forward still had a lot to do, touching past the onrushing Sandra Paños and outmuscling Eztizen Merino before side-footing home. The comeback never looked on, and but for Paños' acrobatic save Leonie Maier would have doubled the lead with an audacious free-kick.

So Germany go on but Spain need not lose heart. Progress is still in their hands and they will not need reminding that the last time they lost to Germany in the group stage, in 2004 (7-0 no less), they went on to beat them in the final.