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The German U17s celebrate reaching the final

Photo: Alex Caparros / FIFA / Getty Images

The scene of the game: In disbelief, Paris Brunner turned to his teammates and for a moment didn't seem to know what to do with himself or his emotions. He raised his hands reassuringly, then ran, got rid of his jersey and cheered as befitting the situation. He had just converted the decisive penalty in the semi-finals of the U17 World Cup against Argentina, which put Germany in the final of this World Youth Championship for the first time since 1985 (then still U16).

The result: In a wild football match, the score was 90-3 (3-1) after 2 minutes. Germany won the penalty shoot-out 4-2 thanks to a brilliant goalkeeper. The goals for the German team were scored by Brunner (9th/58th minute) and Max Moerstedt with a header (69th), while Agustín Ruberto scored three times for Argentina (36th/45th+4th/90th+7th).

The Little Devil: After the national anthem, the Argentines displayed a furious determination that only teenage faces can express. It was with this intensity that the Albiceleste started the game. Central defender Finn Jeltsch, the most important man in the highly praised DFB defence, wanted to hit the ball forward immediately after the kick-off, Claudio Echeverri, also known as "the little devil", intervened, ran alone towards goalkeeper Konstantin Heide, played around him, but only hit the side netting (1').

Argentina had more possession and controlled the game. But when Germany combined out of pressing, there was usually a lot of turf in a dubious condition. The German team took advantage of this in the ninth minute: captain Noah Darvich played Brunner free on the left side, who finished from a few meters and acute angle into the short corner.

The Giant: The deserved equaliser was scored by Agustín "the giant" Ruberto, whose nickname the Sky commentator did not withhold from the spectators, true to the old reporter's rule that South American players must not be named without their iconic belittling (36'). The goal was facilitated by Brunner, who as an offensive player participated in the defensive work in an exemplary but also clumsy way. Shortly before the break, Ruberto let Jeltsch slip into the void and put the ball into the corner to make it 2-1 at half-time (45'+4').

Ruberto's third Argentine goal, his eighth of the tournament, was again scored in stoppage time: Germany led 3-2 at the time, but revealed unusual defensive gaps and finally conceded the equaliser, which Ruberto scored as he fell (90'+7').

Monster Slides: After the 1-0 win in the quarter-finals against the attacking Spaniards, the German defence received a lot of praise. The U17s fulfilled the longings for honest defensive work awakened by the senior national team. Even national coach Julian Nagelsmann noted that he does not have any "defensive monsters" at his disposal at the moment. This World Cup suggests that there seems to be this kind of footballer in the DFB youth team. Against Argentina, however, the German players presented themselves unpredictably, which is not surprising as a trait in either monsters or 17-year-olds.

The DFB team threw themselves into every duel with enviable zeal, even Darvich's knees slid across the pitch surprisingly often for a playmaker. Here and there, the so-called German virtues degenerated into overzealousness, for example when full-back Eric da Silva Moreira jumped in his own penalty area with both feet first in the direction of the ball-carrying Argentine. Fortunately for the German team and their own health, he was quick enough to avoid the attack.

Many failures: Since regular goalkeeper Max Schmitt had to miss out at short notice due to illness, Konstantin Heide from SpVgg Unterhaching surprisingly made his first appearance at this World Cup. It was the next loss in the German squad, which is getting smaller and smaller. With Charles Herrmann and Almugera Kabar, two other players who were on the field in the quarter-final win against Spain were missing due to injury.

Already in the group stage, Schalke's top talent Assan Ouédraogo had to leave with a foot injury. There were six players on the German bench and nine on Argentina's bench.

From Paris with Love: Brunner almost didn't fly to Indonesia either. The Borussia Dortmund attacker was suspended by BVB in October due to an unspecified but apparently "serious incident". His nomination for the World Cup also seemed to be in danger. Brunner was then allowed to come along, and coach Christian Wück should not have regretted this decision for a second so far.

After scoring the only goal in the quarter-finals, Brunner was once again man of the match in the semi-finals. For his second goal, he intercepted a tee shot from the Argentine goalkeeper and flicked the ball from the edge of the penalty area into the far corner (58').

The Konstantin Heide Show: For the penalty shootout, Diego Placente, the Argentine coach and former Bayer Leverkusen player, changed the goalkeeper. However, it was the German keeper who saved the shot. The 17-year-old already caught the eye during normal time and in injury time with some brilliant saves and subsequent gestural celebrations.

In the penalty shoot-out, he guessed which corner the first two Argentine shooters would choose, laying the groundwork for Brunner's decisive goal. "We just showed that we have that kind of mentality. That we can always come back," Heide said after the game.

Here's what's next: The final will take place next Saturday at 13 p.m. German time. The opponent of the German team is still to be determined: At 13 p.m., France and Mali will meet in the second semi-final.