By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
Defending champion Spain defeated hard-fighting Colombia 1-0 to win the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday.
A late own goal by Colombia’s Ana Guzman was the difference between the two sides as Spain became the first country to successfully defend the title she won at the last edition.
Earlier, Nigeria had beaten Germany 3-2 on penalties to clinch the Bronze medal to also become the first African and sub-Saharan nation to win any shade of medal in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in any level.
However, Colombia the conqueror of Nigeria in the semi final stage came out forcefully against Spain, and having scored six of her seven goals in the tournament in the first half, looked aggressive from kick-off.
In the sixth minute, Gabriela Rodriguez almost scored from a free-kick, only to be denied by a full-stretched goalkeeper Sofia Fuente of Spain, who stuck out her right hand to keep the ball out of goal.
Spain’s reply came 16 minutes later when Cristina Libran, receiving a pass from Vicky Lopez, shot from distance – only to see an identical save, this time on the other end by Luisa Agudelo.
After a goalless first half, Kenio Gonzalo’s side almost broke the deadlock in the 48th minute when Cristina Libran, after an initial save by Agudelo, shot into the net.
However, after a VAR check, followed by the referee Katia Garcia having a look at the monitor, the goal was ruled out as the replay showed that the ball had come off Libran’s hand before her shot.
But Spain kept asking questions at the edge of Colombia’s box and finally broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute.
Paula Partido and Laia Martret – who had come on after the hour mark combined with the former carrying the ball along the right flank.
Martret, on receiving the cross in the centre, tried to meet it with her right foot, only to see it roll into the net after a touch off Guzman
Final result: Colombia 0 lost to Spain 1 (Guzman 82’ OG).