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England's first ever appearance in the UEFA Under-19 Championship Final ended in heartbreak as two extra time goals saw Germany retain the trophy with a 2-0 victory.
England had defended superbly, with central defensive pair Fern Whelan and Sophie Bradley outstanding, until their resistance was broken in the final thirteen minutes of a match played in torrential rain at Reykjavik.
Mo Marley opted for an unchanged line up from the one which had beaten Norway 3-0 in the semi finals and, although there was an early scare as Nicole Banecki cut inside Sian Larkin and her shot was deflected just wide.
This however proved to be a rare opportunity at either end, indeed England could only muster one effort on goal in the first half, a shot just past the post from Natasha Dowie. Just before the interval, Isabel Kerschowski fired over after a good run from the pacey Banecki but defences had dominated and the scoreline was unsurprisingly goalless at half time.
As the second half began, England produced their best moment of the match. After chasing Ellen White's pass, Dowie skipped past a challenge and drew another defender before striking her angled shot into the side netting.
A sloppy ball out of defence almost led to problems before Banecki missed her kick but it was a rare lapse from the England back four. Bradley produced a great block to deny Banecki after she had jinked her way into the area and Germany went even closer from a Katharina Baunach free kick, Danielle Hill rushed from her line but didn't get to the ball and Nadine Kessler headed against the bar.
Germany won a number of corners but the superb Whelan headed most of them clear whilst Hill's handling was faultless.
As the game moved towards injury time, England won a free kick around 30 yards from goal in a central position but the half chance was lost as the normally reliable Danielle Buet lifted her shot disappointingly over the bar.
The pattern of the match continued in the first period of extra time with Germany pressing and England keeping them at bay, whilst England could not find their creativity from their recent matches and a number of moves broke down as possession was given away.
In the 107th minute, a German corner resulted in a scramble before Remi Allen hacked the ball off the line. Banecki returned it across goal for Nathalie Bock to ram her shot home from close range and Germany were ahead.
Hill pulled off a fine diving save from Kessler to keep her side in the game but, with England now forced to push forward, more space was appearing at the back. Germany fully capitalised on this with three minutes remaining as Monique Kerschowski broke through before evading Buet's desperate last ditch challenge, Hill blocked her shot with her legs but the unlucky England goalkeeper could not prevent the ball from going on into the net to put the result beyond doubt.
It was a disappointing conclusion for England but they can reflect on an otherwise successful tournament, their best effort to date. Many of the squad are still eligible for next year's Championships and there is more to come from this team.
England: Danielle Hill, Chelsea Weston, Sian Larkin, Lizzie Edwards, Fern Whelan, Sophie Bradley, Jess Clarke, Danielle Buet, Ellen White, Natasha Dowie (sub Claire Rafferty 81mins), Remi Allen (sub Faye McCoy 114mins), Rebecca Spencer, Jayne Eadie, Sophie Walton, Jade Moore, Kelly Lawrence.
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