The Germans wrapped up their account at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca with a place on the podium after beating Brazil in a third-place thriller that produced seven goals. A wide-open and goal-littered affair that ended 4-3 in favour of the Germans served as a perfect warm-up for the big event later in the day and a fitting advertisement for the quality on display here at these 14th U-17 world finals.
Germany came out in an almost identical posture to their semi-final against hosts Mexico, sitting back patiently and waiting for Brazil to over-commit in attack. And after Levent Aycicek fired a warning shot on a quick break, the Europeans got the formula paying dividends in the 20th minute.
Samed Yesil collected the ball after a defensive miscue near the left corner of the box, spun brilliantly as he had in the quarter-final win against England, and raced to the goalline, where he pulled back across the goalmouth. Okan Aydin was left with what will likely be the easiest finish of his career, popping into an open net from three yards.
Brazil were spurred into an immediate response. They scored an almost identical goal just two minutes later when Chelsea-bound Lucas Piazon broke down the left side and pulled across for Wellington, who scored simply in his first start of these finals. The talented Brazilians kept up the possession and pressure, spurred on by their opening goal, and were into the lead after 29 minutes. Adryan stepped up and coolly stroked home from the spot after being fouled in the area by captain Robin Yalcin.
The Germans were reeling and the impressive Adryan added another for Brazil in the 33rd minute when he got hold of his own rebound to slam into the roof of the net. The German defence was having a hard time coming to grips with the contest, but they managed to pull one back through the head of substitute Koray Guentner to make it 3-2 on the stroke of half-time.
The game was wide open after the re-start and with ten minutes gone Germany drew level. Yesil’s clever back-heel picked out Aycicek, who raced into the box at a tight angle and hit home off Charles’ back post. Midfield was only a passing concern for the two teams as they battled out for bronze, and Germany took the lead 4-3 in the 63rd minute when, on the break, Yesil played the ball out to Aydin, who roared up the left side and hit home into the side netting.
The Azteca stadium was filling up for the main event and the nearly 100,000 fans were treated to some outstanding and open football in the closing moments of the game. There were to be no more goals, however, and Germany – top scorers at Mexico 2011 with 24 goals in seven games – celebrated their day and their place among the medals.