- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) - Mali produced one of the shocks of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup coming from behind to beat tournament favorites Germany 4-3 on penalties and advance to the semifinals.

Both sides scored its first three penalties, before Mali’s Adama Traore had his penalty saved and Julian Brandt, who had scored Germany’s regulation goal, blasted his shot over.

Mali then made it 4-3 and with Niklas Stark needing to score to keep Germany in the shootout, he hooked his shot wide to send Mali, which was beaten semifinalists in 1999, through to meet either the United States or Serbia on Wednesday.

“We don’t lose the match because of the opponent, we lose it because of penalties,” Germany coach Frank Wormuth said. “At the end, it’s luck to win.”

Earlier, the 1981 champion Germans weren’t as dominant as many predicted and didn’t have a shot on target until the 30th minute.

Germany’s opening goal in the 38th minute was superb. A Hany Mukhtar free kick deflected skyward off the defensive wall. The Germans brought the ball down coolly and Brandt hit a volley from outside of the penalty area, through traffic, into the corner of the Mali goal.

Germany squandered the chance to double its advantage when Hany Mukhtak’s second-half penalty was saved by Mali keeper and captain Djigui Diarra.

Mali quickly capitalized on the reprieve as defender Souleymane Coulibaly dived to meet an inswinging corner and his glancing shot beat German goalkeeper Marvin Schwaebe and slid into the side netting of the goal in the 58th.

Mukhtar should have scored again in the 69th minute when Brandt delivered a lofted ball finding the striker in prime position with only Diarra to beat, but missed.

Neither side could find the breakthrough in extra-time as the match headed to penalties.

Mali coach Faneri Diarra dedicated the win to the supporting public in Mali, adding his side never doubted they had a giant-killing performance in them.

“With young kids in this tournament, there are always surprises,” he said. “Our confidence has been rising throughout the event and our results have risen too.”


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