Stylish Spain brush aside champions Germany
Spain reigned supreme in the battle of the European Women’s Under-17 champions competing here in Iceland, the two-time winners overwhelming Germany 4-0 in Group A.
The matchday two encounter in Akranes was a sequel to the 2013/14 final when the northern European team claimed their fourth WU17 title, but this game belonged to Spain who stamped their authority with a first-half hat-trick from centre-forward Lucía García. Aitana Bonmati’s last-gasp effort simply iced the cake.
Spain seized the initiative when Patricia Guijarro floated a ball into the box which García flicked over goalkeeper Nadine Winckler. However, the goal also owed to little No10 Maite Oroz doggedly winning a duel with a more formidable opponent. Oroz had captained Pedro López’s side on Monday but here the armband was worn by Bonmati. Ominously for Germany, Bonmati had scored twice against Anouschka Bernhard’s team in a 4-0 Spanish group stage success last season – with Guijarro also registering in the subsequent final, a 1-1 draw followed by Germany’s penalties triumph.
Come the 21st-minute mark Guijarro span between German markers and bettered that piece of artistry with a perfect pass for García who again finished high over Winckler. Spain’s early possession had paid dividends. Giulia Gwinn grazed a Spanish post after pouncing on goalkeeper Amaia Peña’s poor pass and Janina Minge’s effort was blocked on the line, but Spain’s first-half control was capped by García’s volley from left-winger Carmen Menayo’s pull-back.
Willing attacker Stefanie Sanders offered Germany hope of a consolation, drawing a notable block from Laia Aleixandri. Gwinn and Minge also threatened to deny Peña a clean sheet, yet there would be no spoiling Spain’s day and Bonmati rolled in a stoppage-time fourth from Lorena Navarro’s assist. Bernhard’s side must recover fast as they face England next.
• Spain avenge last season’s final defeat with convincing victory
• Lucía García takes tournament tally to four with first-half treble
• Germay suffer repeat of 2013/14 group loss to Spaniards
• Next up: Germany v England, Spain v Iceland on Sunday