Vanuatu have ended their debut FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign with a thrilling fight back against football giants Germany who beat them 3-2 at Jeju World Cup Stadium this evening.
While even a win would have potentially needed mathematical miracles to see Vanuatu through, owing to their goal difference, Germany knew that three points would certainly put them in the mix for, if not guarantee, progression.
However, neither side had the best start to the match with loose passes and poor first touches from both sides marring the first 15 minutes.
Germany started to pull themselves together quickest and were soon putting pressure on Vanuatu’s defensive structure with Dick Taiwia saving well on three occasions before Philipp Ochs picked up the final rebound to see Malcolm Badu in to register Germany’s first goal of the tournament.
A second came soon after with a quick throw in allowing Suat Serdar to square for Fabian Reese to tap in.
The awarding of a penalty, confirmed by the video assistant referee, had Vanuatu heads dipping however Dick Taiwia got a hand to Serdar’s effort from the spot to deny a third in the first half.
In the 50th minute the Germans had their third after another finish behind the keeper this time from Emmanuel Iyoha, before a skill by Germany goalkeeper Svend Brodersen allowed Bong Kalo to take the opportunity to net Vanuatu’s first of the evening.
Captain Kalo then curled a beautiful free kick over the wall and inside the far post to give fans in Vanuatu yet more to cheer about.
Despite the 3-2 loss, this side is expected to be welcomed home as heroes after stunning series of performances against some of the world’s best.