One team's pain is another team's pleasure - The U-17 elite round
“That´s what football is like“, everything can still change within a few seconds.
In fact, surprises in Group 6 of the elite round qualifiers for the European U-17 championship were absolutely nothing unusual: Surprisingly the Ukrainians qualified for the European Championship although they had been regarded as outsiders only. The Swedes, generally considered to be the Group 6 favourite, failed to score any points. Almost until the last moment Austria seemed to be well on their way to qualify for the championship and yet, in the last seconds of their third match, gave away their ticket.
At the beginning everything happened according to plan for Austria´s squad. They fought hard to score one point in the match against France. After the anticipated victory in the first match the red-white-red squad performed really well against Sweden to win 3-1. All the Austrians needed in their last match against Ukraine to assure their ticket for the European Championship was at least one point for a draw. However, in the whole tournament the Ukrainian rapid bursts forward were proof of their quality. This became the Austrians´ destiny in the last minute of extra-time. In the penalty area the last attack of the Ukrainians could not be fended off properly, which gave their top scorer Olexij Kaschtschuk (# 8) the chance to shoot the ball into the goal. As a consequence the Ukrainians overtook the Austrians in the Group 6 table and get to go to the European U-17 Championship in Croatia.
The Swedes could not find any effective means against their opponents. They had been drawn out of pot 1 to play in Group 6 and were generally regarded to be the group favourite. But at the end of the tournament they had to admit their bitter defeat with zero points. It was completely different with the French squad. Winning Group 6 the French team even remained unbeaten and assured their ticket for the European championship.
Once more the results at a glance:
Match day 1, 23rd March, 2017
Sweden vs Ukraine 1-2
Austria vs France 1-1
Match day 2, 25th March, 2017
France vs Ukraine 3-1
Austria vs Sweden 3-1
Match day 3, 28th March, 2017
Austria vs Ukraine 1-2
Sweden vs France 0-2
1. France * 3 2 1 0 6:2 7
2. Ukraine * 3 2 0 1 5:5 6
3. Austria 3 1 1 1 5:4 4
4. Sweden 3 0 0 3 2:7 0
*Qualified for the European U-17 Championship in Croatia