Few players will ever light up a final tournament as Kyra Malinowski did the 2009 UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship.
The striker was only a substitute in Germany's opening second qualifying round win against Russia but started the following matches with Hungary and Switzerland, scoring twice in successive 6-0 wins. But it was in the final tournament in Nyon that she really made a mark.
In the semi-final against France, Malinowski opened the scoring and struck twice more after the break for the defending champions. Her star shone even more brightly in the final as she hit five goals in a 7-0 rout of Spain, showing a thrilling mix of pace and cool, sharp finishing.
Not only did that take Malinowski's finals tally to eight goals, a mark that will take a lot of beating, but it also gave her an overall tournament total of 12 – level with France's Anaïs Ribeyra, who had been five ahead before travelling to Nyon and whose side, unlike Germany, had been involved in the first qualifying round. "In the end it does not matter how well I played – the only thing that counts is that we are the European champions," the modest Malinowski told UEFA.com after the final.
Having already played for second division SG Wattenscheid 09, Malinowski joined SG Essen-Schönebeck that same summer, making her top-flight debut in September 2009. Still young enough to play at U17 level in 2009/10, Malinowski was instead promoted up a level to play at the European U19 finals. She then joined up with the junior side for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago, scoring seven goals despite Germany's quarter-final exit.
Malinowski's hopes of participating in Germany's 2011 European U19 triumph were dashed a couple of months before the finals by a serious injury but, with nine Frauen-Bundesliga goals to her name before her 19th birthday, her part in her nation's new generation seemed assured.
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