Japan claimed their first title with victory over Spain ©Getty Images

Japan became only the fourth nation to win the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in its 16-year history as they beat Spain in the final in France.

Since the biennial event started in 2002, Germany and the United States have shared three wins each, while North Korea have won twice.

Now Japan, whose best performances in this competition were the third places they earned in 2012, as hosts, and last time around in 2016, can add their name to that proud list thanks to a dominant performance at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes.

Spain, who had knocked out hosts France in the semi-final despite having a player sent off in the 69th minute, were put onto the back foot seven minutes before half-time in what was also their first final when Hinata Miyazawa gave Japan the lead.

Two more Japanese goals arrived, through Saori Takarada in the 57th minute and Fuka Nagano nine minutes later, before Candela Andujar netted Spain’s sole reply in the 71st minute.

Japan proved too strong for Spain in the final ©Getty Images
Japan proved too strong for Spain in the final ©Getty Images

The hosts suffered a final disappointment of being beaten in the third-place match that preceded the final as, after drawing 1-1 with England after 90 minutes, they lost 4-2 in the penalty shoot-out.

Georgia Stanway gave England the lead soon after the re-start with a fine turn and finish from the edge of the box.

It was the Manchester City player’s sixth goal of the tournament.

But France equalised midway through the second half when Emelyne Laurent scored a penalty after substitute Amelie Delarbre had been fouled by Megan Finnigan.

Late substitute Georgia Allen converted the winning spot-kick to cap a fine campaign in Brittany for Mo Marley’s side.