Young Football Ferns defeated by Spain 3-0

TONY SMITH
Last updated 14:42 20/03/2014

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The Young Football Ferns crashed to a 3-0 loss to Spain today at the Fifa under-17 girl's football World Cup in Costa Rica.

New Zealand failed to get a shot on target, missing a late penalty which would have given them a consolation goal at Tibas.

Waikato midfielder Isabella Coombes lined up the spotkick after Rotorua's Paige Satchell was fouled in the 87th minute. She hit it firmly but it crashed against the upright and Spain scrambled the rebound away.

The New Zealanders were outclassed by the impressive Europeans, who bounced back from a 0-2 opening round defeat to Japan.

Spain hit the front in the third minute when striker Sandra Hernandez expertly controlled Laura Dominguez's pinpoint right wing cross and crashed a shot past Kiwi keeper Emma Fullbrook.

Fullbrook, who made 10 saves during the match, distinguished herself by tipping a 25m drive from Patri Guijarro over the bar in the 29th But it was a brief reprieve. Spain doubled their lead in the 34th, Garrote smashed a sizzling strike off the inside of the post.

Spain won 70 per cent of possession and had 17 shots on target to New Zealand's 0. The Young Ferns struggled to keep the ball when they did win it and were always chasing red-shirted shadows.

The Spaniards were simply quicker to the ball and hammered the final nail into the Kiwis' coffin when Nahikari Garcia grabbed the third and final goal in the 67th ball in the box.

The New Zealanders were rather fortunate to get their penalty opportunity with television replays showing Garrote, who was cautioned, had cleared the ball cleanly in a sliding tackle.

The Young Ferns never stopped running with coach Jitka Klimkova ringing the changes, but Spain kept pressing forward and Fullbrook had to make some handy saves, including one in the final minute.

New Zealand, who drew 1-1 with Paraguay in the opening round, are now unlikely to qualify for the next phase. They meet group leaders Japan in their final group stage game on Monday.

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- Fairfax Media

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