AIFF Media Team
NAVI MUMBAI: Spain are the winners of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022™. La Rojita beat Colombia 1-0 in Sunday’s final to retain the title they won at Uruguay 2018. The two sides had already met in the group phase, a match the Spanish also won 1-0.
Spain’s winner came eight minutes from time, when Laia Mertrat’s effort on goal went in off Colombia defender Ana Guzman. The South Americans could take some consolation from the fact that this is the furthest they have ever gone in the U-17 world finals, having previously failed to progress beyond the group phase. Cristina Libran was a constant threat to the Colombian defence.
With 21 minutes gone, her fierce drive from distance forced a fine save from Colombia keeper Luisa Agudelo. The midfielder went close again as half-time approached, going just wide with another long-range effort.
Two minutes into the second half, Libran had the ball in the back of the net after good work from Jone Amezaga down the right. Hitting a low first-time shot from Amezaga’s cut-back, Libran was quick to react to Agudelo’s superb save, bundling the rebound into the back of the net only for VAR to rule the goal out for handball.
Spain defender Maria Artero carried a threat of her own in the air, twice sending headers goalwards from Vicky Lopez deliveries in the latter stages of the first half. Colombia had a good chance of their own 28 minutes, when Natalia Hernandez latched on to a clearance from a corner and almost found a way past Sofia Fuente with an excellent drive from outside the box.
Midfielder Karla Viancha went close again for the Colombians in the second half, running on to a long ball from defence and beating Fuente to it, only to hit the side-netting. Then, with nine minutes remaining, Spain found a way to goal thanks to substitutes Paula Partido and Laia Martret, both of whom had only just come on. Breaking into space on the right, Partido sent in a low cross to the far post, where Martret diverted the ball goalwards with her right knee and turned away in delight after seeing her effort deflect off Guzman and over the line.
“I can’t believe it. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m just so happy to help the team in any way," said Spain midfielder and player of the match Sandra Villafane.
Release/Image Courtesy- FIFA Media