U-20 Football World CupIt wasn’t easy for Germany in the end. In a repeat of the 2010 World Cup, Germany faced Nigeria in the final of the FIFA U-20 final at Montreal. Despite superior display by the determined Nigerians, regulation time ended with a goalless draw. Eight minutes into the extra time, Lena Petermann scored the title-winning goal for the Germans, who were outplayed by Nigerians for most part. What settled Germany’s victory in the end was their women’s great perseverance and the will to win, in addition to the fantastic display by their goalkeeper Meike Kamper. She was very aptly named player of the match for the second match in succession.

The final of the U-20 World Cup will be remembered for the diverse styles of football cultures. For this reason alone, the match lived up to the expectations of an engaging game. As has been their great performance in the tournament, the Nigerians were athletically superb and dominated the first half. They created several chances and if they lost the final, the only reason is their inability to convert those chances in the end. For a change, Nigeria’s star performer Asisat Oshoala literally let Nigeria down in the final by missing the target, when it mattered most. Oshoala was the player, whom the German women feared the most but she couldn’t score a single goal. The striker, who scored four goals in her last match, had first great opportunity in the 22nd minute. Like a true athlete, she created an opening out of nothing by stealing a ball from Germany’s Margarita Gidion and then began to run like crazy. She dodged a few defenders and curled around Meike Kamper in an authentically stunning display of speed and strength. However, when she took the aim, she erred as her finishing shot only managed to find only the side-netting. Nigeria’s strength has always been their superior physical attributes against their opponents in this World Cup and although, Oshoala missed the golden opportunity, more chances came Nigeria’s way. It was Oshoala again in the 38th minute, when Chiwendo had dispossessed Rebecca Knaak and she passed it to Oshoala. The Nigerian striker faltered again with her shot that went wide to the utter disappointment of the Nigerian supporters. While Germany spent the first half trying to contain the Nigerians, they got only one genuine opportunity, when Lina Magull took a free-kick. The moment passed for Nigeria as the goalkeeper Sandra Chiichii easily saved the shot.

In the second half, Germany raised their game. As play began, the combination of Theresa Panfil and Lena Petermann managed to send a ball to Sara Daebritz, who was in perfect position near the goal. Daebritz’s powerful left-footer, however, fell straight into the arms of the Nigerian goalkeeper. On a counter three minutes later, it was Oshoala again at work. She came charging in from the left flank, took care of two defenders and struck powerfully. Oshoala  shot, however, hit her own team mate first and on the rebound Oshoala  sliced it too high and wide. German women also missed chances in the second half. Pauline Bremer stole a ball after Sara Dabritz took a free-kick but Bremer’s header went wide off the Nigerian goal. On another occasion, Nigerian goalkeeper keeper Chiichii dived bravely on the feet of the dangerously moving Lena Petermann to make a great save. Chiichii’s jaw was badly bruised but she didn’t mind the injury since she had kept the Nigerian hopes alive. In 85th minute, it looked as if Nigeria had won the game, when Oshoala headed the ball across the line, but the assistant referee raised the flag for off-side. The game finally ended goalless in the 90 minutes of regulation time. It now depended on the performance of the two teams in extra time or penalty shoot-out.

In the first part of the extra time, it was Petermann who broke the deadlock. Pauline Bremer dispossessed Nigeria’s Gladys Abasi at the edge of the box and entered the penalty area. She saw that Lena Petermann was moving alongside and passed the ball to her. Petermann was very close to the goal and she fired a great shot past Nigerian keeper Sandra Chiichii in the 98th minute to win the tournament for Germany. This was Germany’s 17th and Petermann’s third goal of the tournament.

With their remarkable show and team strength this U-20 World Cup, the Nigerians were sorely disappointed at their loss in the final. It was the second back to back defeat for Nigeria against Germany, having also lost to the same rival in the U-20 World Cup 2010 final at Bielefeld, Germany. This was Germany’s third U-20 World Cup title after 2004 and 2010. In seven editions of the tournament so far, USA have also won the title three times in 2002, 2008 and 2012 and North Korea once in 2006.