Spain see off Germany to reach semis
Spain are through to the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Germany at Amman International Stadium. Natalia Ramos and Eva Navarro scored the goals that set up a last-four duel with either Japan or England and exacted revenge for La Rojita's defeat on penalties to the Germans in their European Championship final.
Coach Maria Is had sprung a pre-match surprise by dropping Lorena Navarro, the tournament's top scorer, in a change that - while bold - seemed to have the desired effect. Indeed, Spain were ahead inside nine minutes, with defender Natalia Ramos stealing in unmarked on a floated Paula Fernandez corner to loop home a precise header.
At the other end, Spain were indebted to the goalscorer's twin sister, Noelia, who produced a superb save to keep out Germany skipper Janine Minge's low effort. They were also fortunate to remain ahead when Giulia Gwinn's 25-yard free-kick, which cleared the wall and had Ramos beaten, rebounded to safety off the outside of the post.
La Rojita continued to cause problems of their own, though, and it was no great surprise when they doubled their lead ten minutes before the interval. The only shock was the manner in which Germany conceded, with the normally reliable duo of Leonie Doege and Caroline Siems getting in an almighty mix-up which allowed Eva Navarro to nip in ahead of them and, with the keeper out of her goal, roll the ball into an unguarded net.
Determined to fight back, Germany dominated the second half and, but for some inspired goalkeeping from Ramos, might have pulled a goal back earlier than they did. As it was, they only found a way through in the 93rd minute, rendering substitute Lena Oberdorf's scrambled, close-range effort a mere consolation.
*Live Your Goals Player of the Match: Noelia Ramos (ESP)