Monday 21 May 2018, 09:33

Spain head to World Cup as European champions

  • Germany, Spain and Finland secure berths to U-17 Women’s World Cup

  • Uruguay 2018 takes place from 13 November to 1 December

  • Spain beat Germany 2-0 in the UEFA Women’s U-17 Championship final​

Next stop: Uruguay! The European places at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2018 have been decided. Spain will travel to South America as European champions, while finalists Germany and third-placed side Finland can also start planning for Uruguay.

The line-up for the final of the UEFA Women’s U-17 Championship in Lithuania came as little surprise, as Germany took on Spain, who lost both the 2016 and 2017 finals to the same opponents on penalties. The match marked the fifth tournament decider between these two teams after previous encounters in 2009, 2014, 2016 and 2017. This time, it was the Iberians who came out on top, celebrating their fourth victory in the competition, thanks to a brace from Eva Navarro.

Both teams navigated their way to the final in style. Defending champions Germany won a strong Group A, finishing in first place ahead of Finland, the Netherlands and hosts Lithuania to reach the knockout stages undefeated. Coach Anouschka Bernhard’s side then continued their unrelenting progress, with a resounding 8-0 semi-final win over England.

Spain were also undefeated winners of Group B. After a goalless draw with Italy, they beat England and Poland 2-1 and 5-0 respectively before grinding out a close-fought 1-0 win over the Finns in the last four.

"Although we’re obviously very disappointed, we also have to acknowledge that Spain were the better team today and deserved their victory,” Bernhard later told the German Football Association (DFB) website. “We never found our rhythm and it’s the little things that decide a final. We had a fantastic tournament and can be proud of what we achieved. Reaching our target of World Cup qualification means the team now have another chance to show what they can do."

Spain’s semi-final opponents Finland secured the third and final European ticket to Uruguay 2018. The UEFA Women’s U-17 Championship debutants began their campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Germany before beating hosts Lithuania 4-0 and recording a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands.

Coach Marko Saloranta’s side ultimately prevailed 2-1 against England in the match for third place. Despite falling behind to a Jessica Park goal, second-half strikes from Annika Huhta and Jenni Kantanen enabled Finland to turn the match around and reach their first-ever U-17 Women’s World Cup.

Three more tickets claimed for Uruguay 2018 Germany, Spain and Finland secured their places at this year's U-17 Women’s World Cup by ending the UEFA Women’s U-17 Championship as the top three teams.

The European trio will be joined in South America by Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa (CAF); Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic (AFC); New Zealand (OFC); Brazil, Colombia and hosts Uruguay (CONMEBOL).

The final three places will be decided at the CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship in Bradenton, USA, on 6 to 12 June 2018.

The stat 9 - German U-17 international Shekiera Martinez was the tournament’s top scorer with nine goals. The 16-year-old has played for 1. FFC Frankfurt since 2016.

The final Germany 0-2 Spain Goals: 0-1 Eva Navarro (46’), 0-2 Eva Navarro (73’)

The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 will take place in Colonia del Sacramento, Maldonado and Montevideo from 13 November to 1 December.