History is made today as two European countries take centre stage at the final of the 2023 FIFA U17 World Cup taking place in Indonesia.
The French juveniles made their way to the final after edging out Mali 2-1, the only African representative that made it to the semi-finals played at the Manahan Stadium.
Yvann Titi and Ismail Bouneb both scored for France to give them the victory over the African side.
While Germany had the better of Argentina in a penalty shootout on Tuesday, to book their place in the final. They beat Argentina 4-2 via penalty shoot-out after the match ended in a 3-3 draw.
The Argentines had earlier in the quarter-finals thrashed their fellow South American neighbours Brazil 3-0.
Germany has reached the finals of the FIFA U17 World Cup eight times, winning four times and losing four times. This will be their ninth appearance at the finals.
Germany reached the final at the maiden edition of the tournament in 1985 where they lost 0-2 to Nigeria, the inaugural champions held in China.
The Jean-Luc Vannuchi-coached France team won the trophy in 2001 in Trinidad & Tobago, with Florent Sinama-Pongalle scoring nine goals en-route to winning both the Adidas Golden Boot and Golden Ball.
France have qualified for five of the nine editions since, but only made it to the semi-finals on one occasion, at the Brazil 2019 World Cup.
Two key players to watch out for in the final are Paris Brunner of Germany and Ismail Bouneb of France.
Brunner, the Borussia Dortmund U19 star is making his name in the ongoing tournament. In the quarter-final stage, it was Brunner’s goal that made the difference between the two sides.
And in the semi-finals against Argentina, Brunner’s brace helped Germany to make it to the penalty shootout where they ended up winning 4-2 to reach the finals.
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In the French team, Ismail Bouneb, the Lille-born attacking midfielder is turning out to be a game changer for his country. It was Bouneb’s solo goal in the match against Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals that lifted France to the semi-finals.
In the semifinals against Mali, his free kick met the head of right–back Yvann Titi to end up in the back of the opposition’s net. And later he curled one in to give his side a 2-1 semi-final comeback win after being reduced to 10 men.
A look at both countries’ head-to-head encounters, France and Germany have met five times. Germany U17 boys have won three and lost two games, while the French U17 boys have won two.
After 90 minutes at the Manahan Stadium would possibly announce the winners either way, as the two enterprising European youth teams would give it all it takes to lift the coveted trophy.