Germany edge out Spain to reach semi-finals

Germany 1-0 Spain
Rocío Gálvez's own goal and Lena Pauels' late save earned Germany a win that means they top Group B ahead of their opponents.

Germany players celebrate their progress to the last four
©Getty Images

• Germany and Spain both advance to the WU19 EURO semi-finals
• Rocío Gálvez scores own goal six minutes before half-time
• Both teams book a place at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup
• Lena Pauels made a fantastic save to keep out Laura Ortega's late header
• Semi-final lineup: France v Spain, Germany v Sweden (Friday)

Germany and Spain both advance to the WU19 EURO semi-finals after Rocío Gálvez's own goal earned Maren Meinert's team the victory they needed.

Spain already had one foot in the last four – only a defeat of seven goals or worse could have deprived them – but they made much of the running in a rematch of the 2004 final. Ultimately, though, Gálvez's error settled it, meaning Germany top Group B and meet Sweden in the semis on Friday, when Spain take on France.

Spain, showing only two changes to the side that beat England on Saturday, took the initiative right from the off. Andrea Sánchez twice went close while it took a last-ditch Joelle Wedemeyer block to deny Nahikari García. García threatened again, finding a good position but firing straight at Lena Pauels, making her first appearance in Israel.

Germany gradually came into the game, and on 34 minutes Spain keeper Elena De Toro was finally called into action, diving to repel Lea Schüller's effort. The four-time champions were soon in front as De Toro parried a Felicitas Rauch shot that took Gálvez by surprise and the centre-back contrived to put into her own net.

Back came Spain, and Alba Redondo missed two glorious opportunities to add to her three goals in Israel before half-time. Germany looked the better side after the interval, trying to seal the points. Saskia Matheis's volley went close, Nina Ehegötz was denied by De Toro and all the while the threat of an equaliser lurked. Six minutes from time came the defining moment as Pauels made a fantastic save to keep out Laura Ortega's header.

Keeper Elena De Toro challenges Nina Ehegötz
Keeper Elena De Toro challenges Nina Ehegötz©Getty Images

Reaction
Maren Meinert, Germany coach: "I'm very satisfied. It was a tough game for us. We knew Spain have a really good team, with great players. We played pretty good, especially in the first half, when we should've scored more than one goal. In the end luck was on our side. But I'm very pleased with the result. We had to win the game to get to the [U-20] World Cup; it has determined the next 18 months for us."

Jorge Vilda, Spain coach: It's good we managed to reach the semi-finals and get a place at the World Cup – that was the main object. But obviously I can't say I'm happy as we didn't win. My team played quite well, but the result was negative. I don't think first place in the group is that important, though: both France and Sweden are high-level opponents."

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