They’ve been the tournament’s best team, and although it took until just a few minutes were remaining in extra time, hosts Germany won their first ever European Under-17 Championship courtesy of a quite stunning free kick from Florian Trinks to beat a heartbroken Dutch team, who pushed their opponents all the way.
Coaches Marco Pezzauioli and Albert Stuivenberg kept faith with the Semi-Final lineups which had put their teams into Monday’s Magdeburg showpiece event, and they were greeted by a top class stadium holding a record attendance for this level of over 20,000. Perhaps feeling the pressure of an expectant and exuberant home crowd, Germany started slowly, and the Dutch took full advantage, taking the lead after just eight minutes. Feyenoord winger Shabir Isoufi found space down the right to cross, and his delivery was met by club colleague Luc Castaignos, who rattled his third of the tournament past Marc-André ter Stegen at the near post for a flying start.
It pressed the hosts into action and they soon had sights of goal themselves, with Kevin Scheidhauer firing wide and the tricky Mario Gotze putting one over. In attacking so often, Germany left space at the back and Castaignos was unfortunate not to double his and his nation’s tally midway through the half as he raced onto a chance but saw his effort rebound off the post. However, buoyed by a crowd becoming noisier, Germany levelled five minutes before half time. Christoph Buchtmann, a source of so much that has been good about his team this tournament, fired a free kick into the box from wide and Scheidhauer’s header hit the crossbar. Fastest to the rebound was number nine Lennart Thy to nod his third of the tournament to tie Castaignos for the eventual golden boot award.
Thy had another chance just before the break but Patrick ter Mate made a fine save to make sure the teams went in a deserved 1-1. Inevitably, the second half saw the stronger, fitter hosts press on their advantage, going close again through Gotze on two occasions as Holland struggled to deal with the volume of numbers so often found upon them. They managed to see the game out until the end of the 80 minutes and force extra time (despite Rangelo Janga’s chances to win them the game themselves), but with their physical state, Germany had to be favourites in the extra period.
In terms of territorial advantage it proved so, but they couldn’t find the breakthrough until just three minutes remained. As Gotze earned a free kick from a rough Dico Koppers challenge, substitute Florian Trinks eyed up a chance from some 30 yards. He proceeded to bend a quite stunning effort into the top corner, leaving ter Mate with absolutely no chance. It left Holland devasted, and one last corner came to nothing, leaving the final whistle to start wild celebrations from the deserved victorious hosts.
Castaignos and Thy were presented with their joint top goalscorer award before German captain Reinhold Yabo, encircled by his squad, raised the Under-17 trophy for the first time in the country’s history. The best team of the fortnight undoubtedly triumphed.
Germany: ter Stegen, Bazala-Mazana, Mustafi, Labus, Plattenhardt, Yabo (c), Zimmerman, Buchtmann (Janzer 88), Scheidhauer (Trinks 59), Thy (Nauber 99), Gotze
Holland: ter Mate, Ligeon, de Vrij, Koppers, van Huijgevoort, Madmar (van Ewijk 99), Ozyakup (c), Rashid, Isoufi (Janga 66), Castaignos, Schepers (De Vries 63)