Baku, May 15, AZERTAC
A piece of brilliance from Renat Dadashov pierced Belgium's guard and sent Germany through to the last four of the 2016 UEFA European Under-17 Championship.
Germany were dominating without making much headway in front of goal when the Leipzig forward, keen to impress in the country of his parents' birth, engineered a modicum of space for himself. In a central position just outside the penalty area, he curled a right-foot shot into Mile Svilar's top left-hand corner.
The pattern was set early on – Meikel Schönweitz's charges asserting their game plan, Belgium trying to break. The Red Devils seldom made many territorial gains, however. Germany's energy, strength and will to retrieve possession meant, more often than not, they won the ball back quickly.
Belgium did not concede a goal in the elite round and only shipped one during the group stage, in the draw with Azerbaijan. For all of Germany's mastery of the football in the first half, Svilar did not have a significant save to make. You got the sense it would take something special from Germany to break the deadlock – and so it proved.
Dadashov's goal was his second of the finals, his first of the tournament only arrived in added time against Austria. Until that point his attacking team-mates, Yari Otto in particular, had been making all of the headlines. Not anymore.
Germany have slowly moved through the gears since they drew 2-2 with Ukraine on matchday one, when they were twice behind. Their perseverance was rewarded late on against ten-man Bosnia and Herzegovina, they made short work of Austria here three days ago and are now into the semi-finals after passing another test of their patience.
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