Swiss late show stuns France and wins group
France were pipped to top spot in UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship Group B in dramatic circumstances as a Switzerland team who had been facing elimination until Géraldine Reuteler’s late leveller somehow conjured a last-gasp 2-1 triumph over their neighbours.
With Sandrine Soubeyrand’s group pacesetters striking early in Fylkir, the question seemed to be whether the Swiss could muster the single point needed to confirm second place above a Norwegian side beating the Republic of Ireland in the other pool match. If the impressive Reuteler, with 14 minutes remaining, saved Switzerland, their day got even better when substitute Jolanda Stampfli notched an 82nd-minute winner.
France had established a ninth-minute lead when Amira Ould Braham swung over a low free-kick which centre-back Elisa De Almeida prodded home from close range. Océane Ringenbach swept narrowly wide following a raid led by Inès Boutaleb, and only three smart saves from Nadja Furrer – one from Boutaleb and back-to-back stops from Cloe Bodain and De Almeida – prevented a swift French second. Reuteler’s Swiss insurgence was halted by De Almeida, then Alisha Lehmann broke clear and rolled a shot beyond keeper Jade Lebastard but not past Julie Piga on France’s goal line.
No14 Reuteler threatened again at the beginning of the second half, firing over as Monica Di Fonzo’s team upped the tempo. Naomi Mégroz was particularly unfortunate to drift one effort off the inside of the post before sending a second attempt onto the crossbar. Amira Arfaoui was out of luck too when rattling the woodwork.
An almighty goal-mouth scramble in which De Almeida and Estelle Laurier nearly scored almost worsened Switzerland’s plight, with Norway’s 2-0 advantage over the Republic of Ireland at that stage heralding a Swiss elimination on goal difference. That all changed on 66 minutes, however, when Switzerland finally found the net. Stampfli touched a ball into the path of the tireless Reuteler who stayed composed to round Lebastard and equalise. Stampfli did even better two minutes into stoppage time when sprinting clear to lift her finish over Lebastard.
• France relegated to runners-up slot by Switzerland’s stoppage-time winner
• Swiss 14 minutes away from elimination, with Norway set to benefit
• Elisa De Almeida puts French ahead, Géraldine Reuteler levels after interval
• Jolanda Stampfli completes remarkable recovery act on 82 minutes
• Swiss join already qualified France in 1 July semi-finals at Valsvöllur
• Ex-English Premier League player Hermann Hreidarsson among stewards