2018 FIFA under-17 Women’s World Cup: Spain sees off New Zealand to enter finals with a resounding win
Semi-final: Spain 2 - 0 New Zealand (ESP: Clàudia Pina 39', Irene López 48')
Spain would look to secure their hands on the trophy when they take on Mexico in the 2018 FIFA under-17 World Cup Final on the 1st of December.
Spain overcame first-time semi-finalists New Zealand by a two-goal margin at the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The Young Football Ferns were the first to attack when Gabi Rennie‘s cutback pass resulted in Macey Fraser’s superb right-footed kick from the top of the penalty box, forcing a finger-tip save from Spanish goalkeeper Catalina Coll as the ball rattled off the crossbar to safety.
La Roja seized the lead in the 39th minute when Eva Navarro provided a sublime cross from the right wing. A feeble clearance by Hannah Mackay-Wright provided a great opportunity to Clàudia Pina to blast in the free ball before Amelia Abbott.
Damp conditions greeted the players in the second half. Another enterprising cross to the top of the penalty area resulted in a poor headed clearance from Hannah Mackay-Wright. Irene López came up with a thunderous half-volley from a distance which went past the fingertips of New Zealand goalkeeper Anna Leat to settle in the right corner.
New Zealand battled till the end with Britney Cunningham-Lee‘s through pass finding Ayla Pratt clear on the goal. Catalina Coll came up with a brave and determined effort to put her body on the line preserved their two-goal advantage. Spain booked their second final appearance in the under-17 World Cup after they lost to Japan by two goals in the 2014 edition held in Costa Rica.
It brought an exciting ride from the Young Football Ferns to an end at the 2018 FIFA under-17 World Cup. Spain erupted into celebrations with the small group of their supporters in the stand after their facile victory.
New Zealand had five shots on target from their ten attempts while Spain managed four from their 14 efforts. Some brave defending from New Zealand thwarted four attempts from Spain while both teams tested the woodwork once. Spain dominated with 67% of the ball possession.
Spanish Captain Clàudia Pina won the player of the match after scoring her fifth goal of the tournament. New Zealand will play Canada on Saturday to determine the third-place playoff.