Spain successfully defended their title as they defeated Colombia 1-0 in the final of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday. 

The match was a really intense one and was decided by a late own goal from Ana Guzman in the 82nd minute of the game. In the process, Spain also became the first country to defend the title successfully. 

Colombia also played really good football and attacked really well right from the kick-off. In fact, six of their seven goals in the tournament had come in the first half itself but they found it really difficult to penetrate the Spain defense.

Gabriela Rodriguez almost scored from a freekick in the sixth minute of the match but a superb effort from Sofia Fuente, Spain’s goalkeeper, kept the shot out. Fuente unleashed a full-stretch to get her right hand onto the ball and deflected it successfully. 

Luisa Agudelo pulled off a similar save 16 minutes later as Spain’s Cristina Libran shot from distance. The ball would have hit the back of the net but Agudelo’s outstanding effort kept the score 0-0.

The two sides went into the first-half without scoring any goal. Libran scored one right in the 48th minute of the game but it was ruled out by VAR later on, as it appeared on replay that the ball had touched Libran’s hand before hitting the back of the net.

Spain kept troubling the Colombia defence throughout the game, though. The deadlock was finally broken in the 82nd minute by substitutes Paula Partido and Laia Martret. Partido played a superb cross from the right flank and Martret tried to meet it with her right foot inside the box. She missed it in the end but it rolled into the net after a touch from Colombia’s Guzman.

“I feel proud of my players. Unfortunately, in the end, we lost the match. But we are going to hold our heads up high and we’re going to continue to work so that we can continue to dream about lifting ourselves this important role for the World Cup that is at some point,” Colombia’s head coach Carlos Paniagua said after the match.

Keino Gonzalo, Spain’s head coach, was elated after his side’s win in the final.

“We were defeated in the final of the Euro (U-17 Women’s European Championship 2022). We knew that we had to make up for that final, so we’re very satisfied to take this World Cup with us,” Gonzalo told the press after the match.

Both Colombia and Spain were placed in Group C initially, with the former finishing at the top of the group on account of better goal difference. 

This was an important tournament for India, too. They played the hosts after all but it didn’t turn out to be a happy outing for them. India lost all of their three group stage matches as they failed to score even one goal while conceding 16. But this exposure will do great things for the young Indian players and will pave the way for their improvement in the future.

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