High-flying Germans stay perfect
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Germany stayed perfect in Group E with a 2-0 victory over Panama in Queretaro at the FIFA U-17 World Cup despite dropping down to ten men in the second half. The Germans, who have now scored 11 goals in Mexico, got off to a fine start as they took a two-goal lead into the break. The Panamanians, on the other hand, posed little threat, but nevertheless have advanced to the round of 16 as the third-place team in the group.

While the Germans entered their final group matchday with a last-16 ticket already in hand, nothing less than a draw would do for the Panamanians as they still searched for their passage. The day began brightly for the Central Americans, having a free-kick chance just outside the area inside three minutes, but the German defence was able to block the effort. Jorman Aguilar, Panama’s only scorer at this tournament, tried his luck with eight minutes gone, but goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos easily handled the effort.

The high-flying Germans stayed true to form, though, and punished the Panamanians with their first real chance of the match. Okan Aydin was given too much space on the dribble outside the area and hammered home a tremendous effort into the top corner. The goal was all the confidence Germany needed to take control of the contest, seeing efforts from Nils Quaschner and again from Aydin blocked by Ivan Picart.

Despite a scramble in the box to clear a Koray Guenter header back to his keeper, Germany kept Panama at bay before the break. And in the 39th minute the Germans cushioned their lead through defender Mitchell Weiser. Cimo Roecker provided wonderful service from the touchline into an unmarked Weiser, who controlled the cross with his thigh and volleyed in a superb try to take his tally up to two at these finals.

Panama bravely tried to get back into the match after the restart and while they enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening moments, they could not break through the sturdy German rearguard. The Central Americans were given a man advantage too, with just over 20 minutes gone in the second half, as Aydin was given his marching orders for catching the shin of Alonzo Goot with his  studs. But despite the advantage, Panama were unable to muster any real effort on the German goal, providing a rather calm finish for keeper Vlachodimos.

The result was enough, though, for Panama to progress to the last 16 as one of the best third-place finishers. There they will face hosts Mexico on 30 June in Pachuca, while  Germany are set to meet USA in Queretaro. Ecuador, who defeated Burkina Faso in the section’s other match, have secured second place in Group E and will play Brazil on 29 June in Guadalajara.