Holders Germany breeze through
Holders Germany stormed through to the UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship finals in Iceland with a dominant showing in elite round Group 3. The final-tournament draw is on 29 April.
Winners: Germany shared 17 goals with their opponents – but took more than their fair share, scoring 16 and conceding just one (when they were 5-0 up against the Czech Republic). They had previously beaten Belarus 6-0 and later sealed qualification by trouncing Italy 5-0.
Other performances: The Czech Republic pipped hosts Italy to second place with a 1-0 first-day win; both were to defeat Belarus. However, the Czechs will not make the finals as best runners-up.
Key moment: Janina Minge’s early goal for Germany against Italy today. Germany still needed a point and after that Italy replaced a defender with a winger, only to fall further behind.
Star performer: Germany playmaker Minge scored four goals and was described by coach Anouschka Bernhard as “a real captain without the armband”. Also Giulia Gwinn, on the right of the Germany attack, for her solo runs.
Anouschka Bernhard, Germany coach
It was a very good game [against Italy]. I think the first half was the best half that we played in this mini-tournament. There was a little bit of pressure on our team because we knew that Italy could also qualify if they won against us, but we wanted to win this game so we started in very focused fashion and we played very well. We scored early and this made it a bit easier for us. Beforehand we talked a lot about the Italian system and how to play against them.
We had some problems against the Czech Republic and Belarus when they pressed but I think in general we did a great job, the girls did a great job and I am proud of them.
We do not have to motivate these girls because they motivate themselves. The main thing is that we have so much quality on the pitch and even when we make substitutions, we have quality to bring on. I think the goal of these girls is to be part of the team and to win together as a team.
[Minge] is a really good player. She is one year younger than the others, she was born in 1999. Her heading is really good. On the field she is a real captain without the armband, she never gives up – it is good to have her in the team.