Dazzling Barcelona Phenom Clàudia Pina Dashes Mexico’s Dreams, Wins U-17 WWC For Spain

This was Pina’s tournament as she scored twice to lead Spain past Mexico in the U-17 Women’s World Cup final.

Clàudia Pina was the best player at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. She made sure she played for the best team with a sublime performance in the final against Mexico.

Pina scored twice in the opening 26 minutes to propel Spain to a 2-1 win over Mexico in the U-17 Women’s World Cup final on Saturday in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Pina finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with seven goals, a mark matched by Ghana’s Mukarama Abdulai of Ghana. Pina now has a ridiculous 35 goals in 29 caps with the Spain U-17 team. 

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The 17-year-old Barcelona ‘B’ forward scored in five of Spain’s six matches, saving her best for last. 

Spain took the lead in the 16th minute when Pina showed impressive composure in the box to notch her sixth goal of the tournament. 

Pina thought she drew a penalty in the 19th minute, but the referee didn’t agree. 

Regardless, she doubled her tally (and Spain’s) in the 26th minute with a clinical finish from near the penalty spot.

Mexico immediately fought back to within 2-1 moments after Pina’s second with a goal that bounced in off a corner kick from Nicole Perez, the hero in the semifinals against Canada. It’s hard to tell who had the final touch, but Mexico’s Denise Castro was given credit for the goal.

Mexico was fortunate not to trail by more going into halftime. In the 35th minute, Pina found a pocket of space at the top of the 18 and shot just wide of the goal. 

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Though El Tri had chances to equalize in the second half, the European champions claimed their first U-17 Women’s World Cup title. Spain finished third in 2010 and 2016 and runner-up in 2014. They’ve also won four of the last 10 UEFA U-17 titles to go with four runner-up finishes. 

Mexico was trying to become the first Concacaf nation to win the U-17 Women’s World Cup. The previous best for Concacaf was when the U.S. finished second in the inaugural 2008 tournament. 

Earlier in the day, New Zealand beat Canada 2-1 in the third-place match to deny Concacaf a second medalist at the U-17 Women’s World Cup. Grace Wisnewski scored both goals for the Kiwis. 

Her first came just 16 seconds into the match, but her second was the better finish.

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