Germany have yet to miss out on a single edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. They failed to progress to the knockout stages two years ago despite travelling to Costa Rica as European champions. The tournament favourites collected just one point from three group games, drawing 2-2 with Canada before being beaten 1-0 and 4-3 by Ghana and Korea DPR respectively to finish a disappointing last place in Group B. Germany finished fourth in Azerbaijan two years earlier after suffering defeat at the hands of Korea DPR in the semi-final and losing the match for third place to Ghana, while their 2010 campaign was again brought to a grinding halt by Korea DPR when the Asian side defeated them 1-0 at the quarter-final stage. Germany’s youngsters celebrated their best-ever finish in New Zealand in 2008 where, despite losing 2-1 to the USA in the semi-final, they beat England 3-0 in the third-place play-off to climb onto the bottom step of the podium.
Germany travel to this year’s U-17 Women’s World Cup as European champions, just as they did at Azerbaijan 2012 and Costa Rica 2014. The team lifted the UEFA Women’s U-17 Championship trophy for the fifth time this month after previous victories in 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2013, making them Europe’s most successful team in this age bracket. Anouschka Bernhard’s side beat England 4-3 in a thrilling last-four encounter to book their ticket to the World Cup finals in Jordan. As in 2013, penalties were once again required to settle the final, with Germany getting the better of Spain 3-2. “I’m so proud of my entire team, and I mean all of them, from the players to the team behind the team,” Bernhard said after the match. “We’re over the moon about becoming European champions. I’m proud of what the girls have achieved and how they’ve conducted themselves.”
The U-17 Women’s World Cup increasingly seems to serve as a talent pool for future international stars. Sara Dabritz made waves in Azerbaijan before making her senior debut in June 2013. Just a few weeks later, she tasted victory with her team-mates at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2013 in Sweden after national team coach Silvia Neid included her in the squad for the tournament. Lena Lotzen and Luisa Wensing graduated from the U-17 Women’s World Cup 2010 ranks to take their place in the senior set-up alongside 2008 players Dzsenifer Marozsan, Svenja Huth, Almuth Schult and Alexandra Popp.