PABLO SANCHEZ RIVAS / AIPS* in AMMAN: A superb hat-trick from substitute Lorena Navarro sent Spain home from the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with the consolation of third place after a 4-0 defeat of Venezuela.
The goals in the Amman International Stadium transformed the Madrid CFF forward into the tournament’s eight-goal leading scorer as her team’s tears from the semi-final against Japan were converted into happy smiles.
Lorena had entered the game in place of defender Natalia Ramos after half-time when Spain led 1-0 through Player of the Match Eva Navarro.
The 3,200 crowd in the stadium had been given clapper toys to raise the noise level for a game which saw both coaches lining up their best available teams.
The opening minutes were uneventful with Venezuela starting the more aggressively. But everything changed, rapidly, in the 17th minute when Eva opened the door to victory for Spain on an assist from Candela Anduhar.
Venezuela created their best opportunity in the 41st minute when an angled effort from 30 metres by Yerliane Moreno beat Noelia Ramos but struck the goalkeeper’s left-hand post to deny the Vinotinto at a crucial time.
Spain thus took their advantage into half-time and pushed on after the break. Laia Aleixandri headed over the bar before Lorena scored Spain’s fine second goal on a right-wing assist from Eva in the 53rd minute.
Venezuela faded from the match after that second goal with their best player, Deyna Castellanos, not as effective as in the group matches.
Lorena and Claudia Pina had efforts saved by Venezuela goalkeeper Nayluisa Caceres before Lorena wrapped up the match with further goals after 78 and 87 minutes. She thus completed her hat-trick in an amazing 34 minutes.
Spain’s players, supporters and team management celebrated together at the end of an important victory which rewarded their efforts not only in the match but the entire tournament. Spain’s stylish football has been a significant contribution to the improvement in the level of the U-17 Women’s World Cup.
** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide – currently holding a Young Reporters graduation course in at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016. More information: www.AIPSmedia.com
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