A penalty shootout was also required to determine who would finish third in the competition and seal the final European qualifying spot for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014. England and Italy finished 80 minutes of play scoreless, but the Italians held out to win 4-3 on penalties to join Germany and Spain as Europe’s trio of teams headed to Costa Rica in March.
Patricia Guijarro put Spain ahead only nine minutes into the match, firing a shot that deflected off the turf and past Germany goalkeeper Vivien Brandt. Spain generated several chances and looked likely to add to their lead, particularly through Mireya Garcia Boa and Nahikari Garcia, who were just off target either side of half-time.
However, Germany found their equaliser four minutes from time when Nina Ehegotz sent in a cross that Jasmin Sehan missed at the near post but substitute Isabella Hartig calmly finished to bring matters level.
Brandt made two saves, while Sehan, Laura Widak and Hartig converted their penalities to claim Germany’s fourth women’s U-17 championship, and the second for coach Anoushka Bernhard.
In the match for third place, Italy set the tempo early and pressed England’s backline during the first half but were never able to break past goalkeeper Kirstie Levell. Lois Fidler’s side came out strongly after the break to finally put pressure on Italy’s defence with a series of corner kicks but Italy goalkeeper Francesca Durante remained vigilant and cleared any danger that came her way.
Manuela Giugliano and Annamaria Serturini dominated the midfield for Italy throughout the match, and Serturini put Gloria Marinelli in one-on-one with Levell but the England keeper was up to the task in what proved to be the best chance of the game for either side.
Durante started the penalty shootout brightly, saving England’s first attempt and then stopped their third. Levell managed to stop Italy’s fourth kick, but Marta Vergani fired home Italy’s fifth to put the shootout out of England’s reach.
Italy basked in their victory that sends coach Enrico Sbardella’s side to Costa Rica 2014 following to penalties, while tournament hosts England shouldered the disappointment of missing out on their third consecutive tournament, having only appeared at the inaugural Women’s U-17 World Cup New Zealand 2008.