Spain reaches final of Women’s U-20 World Cup

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Vannes (France), Aug 21 (IANS) After dreaming of this day for a generation and led by a fabulous Patri Guijarro, Spain finally reached its first Women’s U-20 World Cup final with a tough 1-0 victory here over host nation France.

The US, Germany and North Korea are the only nations to have taken home the trophy in the eight previous editions of the competition, but the ninth final will be a face-off between Japan and Spain, who downed England and hosts France on Monday, respectively.

The Spanish women fought hard the entire match at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes on Monday, ending the contest with 10 players after the double-warning expulsion of Aitana Bonmati and during which goaltender Catalina Coll stopped a late – and potentially tying – penalty kick by Marie-Antoinette Katoto, reports Efe news.

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Spain kept possession of the ball for the vast majority of the match, but the team played with excessive caution, aiming just to survive against the likes of speedy Emelyne Laurent, powerful Sandy Baltimore and a French squad who came in second in the 2016 Women’s U-20 World Cup.

Guijarro and Spanish team captain Maite Oroz were unable to sink first-half shots, while Laurent and Helene Fercocq could not get their shots past Spain’s Coll and the first half ended with the teams locked in a scoreless tie.

Things picked up in the second half, however, with Guijarro finally managing to sink a header – her sixth tally of the tourney – after Lucia Rodriguez fired a cross to her in the 51st minute after a throw-in.

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Bonmati was ejected on a second yellow card in the 69th minute after challenging Bacha at the halfway line, and Pedro Lopez’s team played the final quarter of the match with 10 on the pitch during which time they deflected everything the French could muster for a well-deserved victory.

–IANS

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