Germany beat France on penalties to win U-17 World Cup

December 4 – Germany have won the U-17 World Cup for the first time, and in doing so defeated France for the second time in a major final this year after penalties. 

Following the pattern of the U17 European Championship final, there was nothing to separate Germany and France in regular time. The French clawed their way back from 2-0 down with goals from Saimon Bouabre and Mathis Amougou, but in a nail-biting penalty shootout, they didn’t have enough to beat the Germans who prevailed with their goalkeeper, Konstantin Heide, the hero.

Heide saved two penalties, but Paris Brunner, outstanding with a brace in the semi-finals, almost became the anti-hero by missing his spot kick. Ultimately, it was Almugera Kabar who converted the winning penalty to hand Germany their first-ever World Cup win at this age level.

The Germans reached the final in 1985 but lost to Nigeria. In June, they beat France in the U-17 European Championship on penalties as well and victory did not come easily again.

Germany played the last 21 minutes with 10 men after Winners Osawe received a second yellow card, a sending-off that changed the momentum of the match. The European champions were rewarded for their start on the front foot with goals from Brunner and captain Noah Darvich.

Germany became the first European team to claim the European championship and world championship in the same year.

Germany’s coach Christian Wück said “there were no words” for the victory, having told his players “you will be immortal” before the match.

“It was a pure fight,” said Darvich. “A sending-off in a game like that is bitter and I was sacrificed and had to come off but as a team, we did it perfectly.”

In the third-place playoff, Mali outplayed Argentina completely to run out comfortable winners 3-0 and claim the bronze medal.

Argentina’s Agustin Ruberto won the Golden Boot after scoring eight goals in the tournament. Brunner was awarded the Golden Ball.

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