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2017: Lena Oberdorf

Lena Oberdorf's nerveless winning penalty in the WU17 EURO final against Spain summed up an outstanding campaign from the Germany left-back in Belarus.
by Ben Gladwell
2017: Lena Oberdorf
Lena Oberdorf (right) in group action against Spain ©Sportsfile

2017: Lena Oberdorf

Lena Oberdorf's nerveless winning penalty in the WU17 EURO final against Spain summed up an outstanding campaign from the Germany left-back in Belarus.

Age did not come before beauty at the 2017 UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship in the Czech Republic with one of the youngest players sparkling with her aesthetically absorbing football for the champions Germany.

Lena Oberdorf – Germany's youngest player, having turned 15 just six months prior to the tournament – was precocious as she led Germany's charge to glory versus a side she had already shone against on the highest stage when she was just 14.

That was in the quarter-finals of the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Amman, when Oberdorf scored what proved to be just a consolation in stoppage time, but she exacted revenge in Plzen - twice.

Germany's hardworking ball-winner, who turned 15 in December 2016 and remained eligible for the 2018 edition, had already established herself as a key component of this team.

Watch: How Germany won the 2017 final

She was the first to hit the target as the six-time winners delivered a clear statement of their intent, flexing their muscles with a 4-1 win against Spain in their opening group encounter.

The TSK Sprockhövel midfielder, who still plied her trade with boys at the time of the finals, showcased an array of talent with excellent technique, passing ability and heading quality, as well as the ability to hold things together with enormous defensive capability.

That became a trend as Anouschka Bernhard's team strolled past France and the Czech Republic before struggling only in the semi-final, when Oberdorf – marked intelligently by Norway – was unable to deliver her usual standard of performance.

She was back to her best in the showpiece, though, with her work-rate and diligence, defending well in front of the defence and preventing her adversaries from creating opportunities.

Without her, Germany may well have been overwhelmed by Spain in the final, but she underlined her stature and maturity by stepping up for the first penalty in the final shoot-out, showing her team-mates how it should be done; leading by example, despite being the youngest player on the pitch.

Last updated: 21/08/17 13.45CET

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