Photo Credit: Photo by Pakawich Damrongkiattisak – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

New Zealand lost 3-1 to European heavyweights Germany in their second group stage match at the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup™ in Indonesia.

In a tie dominated by the Germans, New Zealand defended resolutely but were undone by three well-worked goals, though did have a late Adam Watson penalty to show for their efforts in Bandung.

Having lost their opening encounter to Venezuela, Martin Bullock’s side knew getting anything from their second match was crucial in keeping their tournament hopes alive – a difficult task considering the undoubted strength of their opponents.

Germany were coming off the back of an impressive victory over Mexico and slipped seamlessly into their rhythm – maintaining possession and moving the ball quickly as they worked to find an early breakthrough.

They would be made to wait however as a combination of dogged defensive determination from the Kiwis and excellent goalkeeping from Matt Foord kept Germany at bay. Foord was also indebted to his woodwork, denying Noah Darvich after his free-kick clipped the upright just after the half hour mark.

New Zealand came within seconds of getting into the half-time break at 0-0 but were undone thanks to some outstanding play on the left-hand side by Maximilian Hennig. Having beaten his man, Hennig’s cutback deflected off a defender, forcing Foord into an excellent reaction save, only for Paris Brunner to convert the rebound from close range.

On the hour mark, Germany got the second goal that the poise and class of their play deserved. Darvich was again at the heart of things, working space for himself smartly in the New Zealand penalty area before finding Max Moerstedt, who stabbed home from inside the six yard box.

There was a notable slowing of the pace as the match reached its’ conclusion, perhaps understandable due to the high temperatures and humidity in Bandung.

Darvich however was still at his scheming best and played the key role in Germany’s third. His deft clipped ball was headed against the underside of the crossbar by Moerstedt, with substitute Bilal Yalcinkaya tucking away the rebound to seal the points for his side.

A consolation did arrive for the Kiwis in the form of an Adam Watson penalty. Substitute Nathan Walker broke into the penalty area before being dragged down by Almugera Kabar, leaving referee Dahane Beida with little choice but to point to the spot.

Watson assumed penalty responsibilities and the Stoke City forward calmly stroked his effort down the middle to pull one back.

New Zealand’s final group stage match against Mexico on Saturday evening is now a must win if the Kiwis are to have any chance of extending their stay in Indonesia.

New Zealand: 1 (Adam WATSON (P) 90+1′)
Germany: 3 (Paris BRUNNER 45+7′, Max MOERSTEDT 60′, Bilal YALCINKAYA 81′)

HT: 0-1