Two second-half penalties lifted?Spain?to a 2-0 win and into their maiden FIFA U-17 Women?s World Cup final at the expense of an unlucky?Italy?at the?Estadio Edgardo Baltodano?in Liberia on Monday.

The match was a tight contest throughout with?Italy?having the better of the opening period but they we’re unable to make the most of the limited opportunities. Notably, Martina Piemonte had a goal ruled out having been in an offside position midway through the half when she followed up Manuela Giugliano?s fierce shot from outside the penalty area.

Gloria Marinelli then hit the bar in an speculative long-range effort few minutes later but it was to be as close as?Italy?would come to the all-important breakthrough.?Spain?s Andrea Falcon then stung the palms of Francesca Durante as?Las Rojitas?attempted to force their way into the contest.

While?Italy?had the better of the first half, it was?Spain?that took the lead from the penalty spot within minutes of the restart.?Sandra Hernandez?converted her penalty after her free-kick was deemed to be handball by a lurking defender.

The ever-impressive?Nahikari Garcia?hammered home the second penalty after Laura Dominguez was upended in the penalty area nine minutes from full time. Garcia could have ended the contest within a matter of seconds but?Azzurrine?goalkeeper Durante forced the attacker wide to nullify the danger.Japan women

Two goals in each half lifted?Japan?into their second FIFA U-17 Women?s World Cup final in three editions with a classy performance to record a 4-1 win over semi-final debutants?Venezuela.

The match followed a familiar formula for both these teams with?Japan?dominating in the possession stakes and?Venezuela?constantly looking for quick balls to their powerful forward line.

Japan?immediately found their trademark rhythm and were rewarded on 13 minutes when midfielderFuka Nagano?profited from a smart lay-off to fire in a sweet low strike from 25 yards which went past the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Franyely Rodriguez.

There was disaster for?Venezuela?20 minutes later when a low free-kick from the sideline somehow avoided a sea of legs in a packed penalty area for an easy back-post tap-in by?Nana Ichise.

It could have been three in the shadows of half-time when midfielder Shiho Matsubara fired on target from 15 metres but Franyely Rodriguez expertly finger-tipped onto the crossbar.

The match was virtually over as a contest within minutes of the restart as?Yui Hasegawa?fired in a wonderful cross from the right which?Rikako Kobayashi?expertly turned in from close range for an impressive goal.

Japan?s goal was nearly breached for the first time at Costa Rica 2014 in unusual circumstances with a wild long-range shot from?Venezuela?s Daniuska Rodriguez set to creep under the crossbar only for Mamiko Matsumoto to make a rare but excellent save.

There was, however, to be a fourth goal just past the hour mark with?Hina Sugita?brought down as she prepared to pull the trigger with the captain coolly converting the spot-kick.

There was a further narrow miss for Hasegawa and also substitute Mizuki Saihara as?Venezuelacontinued to feel the pressure.

However, it was?Venezuela?that secured the last goal of the match as tournament top-scorer?Deyna Castellanos?powered in a fine injury-time header from Gabriela Garcia?s short cross as?Japan?conceded their first of the tournament.

The pair had each been on a four-match winning streak prior to the contest with?Japan?now becoming the first team to win five in succession at the FIFA U-17 Women?s World Cup.



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