Total Pageviews

Sunday, July 14, 2013


The men's and women's football tournament of the 2013 NatWest Island Games will be getting under way, as this article is being published, in the British overseas territory of Bermuda, and, in comparison to more recent version of both tournaments, features a much-reduced list of participants. There are but four teams in the men's competition, and just three in the women's.

The hosts will be competing in both competitions for the first time since 2007, and, despite being full FIFA and CONCACAF members, will apparently be represented by their full national team in both the men's and women's sections. Greenland will also be competing in both competitions. The Norwegian island of Hitra will be sending a combined team to take part in the women's competition, while the neighbouring island of Frøya's team will be competing in the men's section; the Falkland Islands completes the line-up in the men's competition.

Bermuda's Under-23 side finished in fourth place at the 2007 version of the men's tournament, and their women's side finished in the bronze medal position in both 2005 and 2007. Greenland's women's side took bronze at the 2011 NatWest Island Games, which were held in the Isle of Wight.

Many of the sides who would otherwise have been among the front-runners (or at least participating) in both the men's and women's tournaments, such as Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man and Åland, decided not to take part due to various reasons, such as cost and distance; the 2013 NatWest Island Games, the fifteenth in all and the thirteenth to hold a football tournament, will be the first be hosted by an island  outside Europe. Bermuda are favourites to win the men's tournament, but history will nevertheless be made at this edition of the NatWest Island Games; none of the teams competing in the men's or women's tournaments have ever won either competition.

The competition venues are the National Sports Centre (NSC) in Devonshire, and the Bermuda Athletics Assocation (BAA) stadium in Pembroke.

Please find below the fixture-lists for both the fifteenth men's and the seventh women's competitions of the 2013 NatWest Island Games. (Kick-off times are local.)



14/7/13 20:00 Bermuda : Greenland (NSC)
14/7/13 20:00 Frøya : Falkland Islands (BAA)
15/7/13 20:00 Bermuda : Falkland Islands (NSC)
15/7/13 20:00 Greenland : Frøya (BAA)
17/7/13 18:00 Falkland Islands : Greenland (NSC)
17/7/13 20:00 Bermuda : Frøya (NSC)


18/7/13 18:00 3rd : 4th (BAA)


18/7/13 20:00 1st : 2nd (NSC)


14/7/13 18:00 Bermuda : Greenland (NSC)
15/7/13 18:00 Bermuda : Frøya/Hitra (NSC)
16/7/13 18:00 Frøya/Hitra : Greenland (NSC)


17/7/13 18:00 2nd : 3rd (BAA)


18/7/13 18:00 1st : Winner Play-off (NSC) 

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks are due to Kay Batty, general secretary of the Island Games Association, for kindly granting permission to publish the fixture-lists for both the men's and women's football competitions at the 2013 NatWest Island Games.

Other information has been taken from diverse sources; please find below the link to an article on the Bermuda national team which will be competing in the men's tournament at the NatWest Island Games:

Please find below an article on Jersey's decision not to send their men's team to the tournament:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013



At a time when English women's football should be looking forward to what could turn out to be another good tournament for the national team, controversy reigns in the WSL, English women's football's premier club competition, with the decision taken by the FA to demote Doncaster Belles to the second tier for next season after just one game of the present campaign due to the club's financial situation, and what the FA deemed to be poor facilities at the Keepmoat Stadium, which they share with Doncaster Rovers.

In spite of the negativity surrounding the domestic club scene at the present time, optimism about the chances of the national squad abounds ahead of the Women's Euro 2013 tournament. England should qualify for the quarter-finals, and might - just might - do rather well, although they were flattened 4:1 by Euro hosts Sweden in a friendly a few days ago.

Kelly Smith is expected to be the focal point for most of England's attacks, ably supported from midfield by experienced campaigners such as Fara Williams and Rachel Yankey, and are looking decent enough in defence, with Yankey's Arsenal team-mate Steph Houghton, who had a starring-role at the 2012 Olympic Games, the pick of the bunch. A repeat of their exloits in Finland in the 2009 version, when they reached the final but lost 6:2 to Germany, is unlikely, though the English team should continue its development and improvement.

WOMEN'S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP HONOURS' LIST: 1969 - 3rd (unofficial); 1984 - Runners-up (unofficial); 2009 - Runners-up

GOALKEEPERS: 1 Karen BARDSLEY (Lincoln Ladies); 13 Rachel BROWN (Everton); 23 Siobhán CHAMBERLAIN (Bristol Academy)

DEFENDERS: 2 Alex SCOTT (Arsenal); 3 Steph HOUGHTON (Arsenal); 5 Sophie BRADLEY (Lincoln Ladies); 6 Casey STONEY (Lincoln Ladies); 15 Laura BASSETT (Birmingham City); 19 Gemma BONNER (Liverpool Ladies); 21 Lucia BRONZE (Liverpool Ladies)

MIDFIELDERS: 4 Jill SCOTT (Everton); 8 Anita ASANTE (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC); 10 Fara WILLIAMS (Liverpool); 11 Rachel YANKEY (Arsenal); 14 Karen CARNEY (Birmingham City); 16 Jordan NOBBS (Arsenal); 20 Jade MOORE (Birmingham City); 22 Kelly SMITH (Arsenal)

FORWARDS: 7 Eniola ALUKO (Chelsea Ladies); 9 Ellen WHITE (Arsenal); 12 Jess CLARKE (Lincoln Ladies); 17 Toni DUGGAN (Everton); 18 Dunia SUSI (Chelsea Ladies)



The French women's team have been improving steadily over the past few years, and the national side reached the quarter-finals of the last World Cup, at times playing exhilarating football, but occasionally several of their players showed flashes of petulance.

Qualifcation for the Women's Euro 2013 tournament was achieved with ease, but have played a number of friendlies since then, and drew seven in a row - against opposition of the calibre of Brazil and Germany - before defeating Finland on 1/6/13 before surprisingly losing 2:0 at home to Australia five days later. 

With players such as French football's pin-up girl Louisa Necib, Eugénie Le Sommer, the redoubtable Wendie Renard at the back and the experienced Sandrine Soubeyrand (who is nearing her 200th cap) in midfield, France should make it through the group without too many problems, and could go far in the competition. In fact, it might just be their year.


GOALKEEPERS: 1 Céline DEVILLE (Olympique Lyonnais); 16 Sarah BOUHADDI (Olympique Lyonnais); 21 Karima BENAMEUR (Paris Saint-Germain)

DEFENDERS: 2 Wendie RENARD (Olympique Lyonnais); 3 Laure BOULLEAU (Paris Saint-Germain); 4 Laura GEORGES (Olympique Lyonnais); 5 Ophélie MEILLEROUX (Montpellier); 6 Sandrine SOUBEYRAND (FCF Juvisy); 7 Corine FRANCO (Olympique Lyonnais); 11 Julie SOYER (FCF Juvisy); 22 Sabrina DELANNOY (Paris Saint-Germain)

MIDFIELDERS: 8 Élise BUSSAGLIA (Olympique Lyonnais); 10 Amandine HENRY (Olympique Lyonnais); 14 Louisa NECIB (Olympique Lyonnais); 15 Jessica HOUARA (Paris Saint-Germain); 17 Gaetane THINEY (FCF Juvisy); 23 Camille ABILY (Olympique Lyonnais)

FORWARDS: 9 Eugénie LE SOMMER (Olympique Lyonnais); 12 Élodie THOMIS (Olympique Lyonnais); 13 Camille CATALA (FCF Juvisy); 18 Marie-Laure DELIE (Montpellier) ; 19 Sandrine BRETIGNY (1. FFC Frankfurt); 20 Viviane ASSEYI (Montpellier)



Russia have been regulars at the Women's Euros since 1993, apart from 2005, when they failed to qualify, though they haven't got past the group stages since 1995, when, like two years earlier, they reached the quarter-finals.

They may well be up against it this time, and 27 year-old goalkeeper Elvira Todua and her defence, led by Natalia Pertseva (two years' Todua's senior), may well be working overtime against both England and France, and their only chance of picking up points may come against Spain.


GOALKEEPERS: 1 Elvira TODUA (WFC Rossiyanka); 12 Yulia GRICHENKO (Kubanochka Krasnodar) ; 21 Margarita SHIROKOVA (WFC Rossiyanka)

DEFENDERS: 2 Yulia GORDEEVA (Izmailovo Moscow); 3 Ekaterina STEPANENKO (Izmailovo Moscow); 4 Maria DYACHKOVA; 8 Valentina SAVCHENKOVA (Ryazan VDV); 15 Anastasia KOSTYUKOVA (Zorky Krasnogorsk); 16 Natalia PERTSEVA (WFC Rossiyanka); 18 Elena MEDVED (Zorky Krasnogorsk); 19 Ksenia TSYBUTOVICH (Ryazan VDV); 22 Daria MAKARENKO (Zvezda 2005 Perm)

MIDFIELDERS: 5 Olga PETROVA (WFC Rossiyanka); 6 Yulia BESSOLOVA (Izmailovo Moscow); 9 Anastasia POZDEEVA (Zvezda 2005 Perm); 10 Elena TEREKHOVA (Ryazan VDV); 13 Alla SIDOROVSKAYA (Izmailovo Moscow); 14 Tatiana SKOTNIKOVA (WFC Rossiyanka); 23 Elena MOROZOVA (Zorky Krasnogorsk)

FORWARDS: 7 Olesya KUROCHKINA (Izmailovo Moscow); 11 Ekaterina SOCHNEVA (Zorky Krasnogorsk); 17 Natalia SHYLAPINA (WFC Rossiyanka); 20 Nelli KOROVKINA (Izmailovo Moscow)



The Spanish women's team are nowhere near as successful as their male counterparts, having qualified just the once for the final stages of a major competition, in 1997, to be exact, when they reached the semi-finals of the European Championship.

They nearly didn't manage to qualify this time around, either, and only managed to do so after defeating Scotland 3:2 after extra-time (4:3 on aggregate) in the play-off second-leg last October, with Verónica Boquete scoring the winner in the 122nd minute. Still, they seem to be highly regarded in some quarters, and their supporters will be looking to Boquete, fellow forwards Adriana Martín and Sonia, and the rest of the squad, to spring a surprise or two in the group.


GOALKEEPERS: 1 Ainhoa TIRAPU (Athletic Bilbao); 13 Dolores GALLARDO; 23 Maria José PONS (Español)

DEFENDERS: 3 Leire LANDA (Athletic Bilbao); 4 MELISA (Barcelona); 6 Miriam DIÉGUEZ (Barcelona); 5 Ruth GARCÍA (Levante); 6 Miriam DIÉGUEZ (Barcelona); 18 Marta TORREJÓN (Español); 20 Irene PAREDES (Athletic Bilbao)

MIDFIELDERS: 2 Virginia TORRECILLA (Barcelona); 7 Priscilla BORJA (Atlético Madrid); 11 Sandra VILANOVA (Español); 12 Alexia PUTELLAS (Barcelona); 14 Vicky LOSADA (Barcelona); 15 Silvia MESEGUER (Español); 17 Elisabeth IBARRA (Athletic Bilbao); 21 Jennifer HERMOSO (Tyresö FF); 22 Amanda SAMPEDRO (Atlético Madrid)

FORWARDS: 8 SONIA (Barcelona); 9 Verónica BOQUETE (Tyresö FF); 10 Adriana MARTÍN (Western New York Flash); 16 Nagore CALDERÓN (Atlético Madrid); 19 Erika VÁZQUEZ (Athletic Bilbao)




What can one say about German women's football that hasn't been said before? The German national side is one of the world's best, and surely the best in Europe; their record, detailed in the below tournament honours' list surely bears testament to this. Not bad for a country where women's football was frowned upon until the 1970s, and only really took off after Die Nationalelf won the World Cup in 2003. 

They must surely start as favourites to lift the trophy for the sixth time in a row, although some star names from the last Euopean Championship tournament in Finland have retired, most notably Birgit Prinz, Kerstin Garefrekes and Steffi Jones. They will also have to do without the likes of Alexandra Popp and Martina Müller, who are but two of a number of key squad-players sidelined through injury.

However, the bulk of the team, which surprisingly capitulated at the quarter-final stages of the 2011 World Cup, remains. The usually steady Nadine Angerer had a nervy time in goal at the 2011 World Cup, but should be back to her best. Other "famous names" fromthe 2009 and 2011 tournaments include Saskia Bartusiak, Melanie Behringer, Anja Mittag, Annike Krahn, Simone Laudehr, the much-vaunted Fatmire Bajramaj and the woman who has taken over the mantle of Prinz, Célia Oyokino da Mbabi.

A wealth of talent and experience, indeed, and young Bayern München forward Dzsenifer Marozsán and Vfl Wolfsburg's 2013 Women's Champions League-winning starlet Svenja Huth, could be the pick of the bunch now coming through.

France, hosts Sweden and perhaps England or even Holland will surely be the best-placed teams to challenge their supremacy, but Germany are still favourites to lift the Women's Euro 2013 tournament, and, as far as your correspondent is concerned, Germany are still very much the team to beat.

WOMEN'S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP HONOURS' LIST: 1989 - Winners (unofficial); 1991 - Winners (unofficial); 1995 - Winners; 1997 - Winners; 2001 - Winners; 2005 - Winners; 2009 - Winners

GOALKEEPERS: 1 Nadine ANGERER (unattached); 12 Almuth SCHULT (SC Freiburg); 21 Laura BENKARTH (Vfl Wolfsburg)

DEFENDERS: 2 Bianca SCHMIDT (1. FFC Frankfurt); 3 Saskia BARTUSIAK (1. FFC Frankfurt); 4 Leonie MAIER (FC Bayern München); 5 Annike KRAHN (Paris Saint-Germain); 15 Jennifer CRAMER (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam); 17 Josephine HENNING (Vfl Wolfsburg); 22 Luisa WENSING (Vfl Wolfsburg)

MIDFIELDERS: 6 Simone LAUDEHR (1. FFC Frankfurt); 7 Melanie BEHRINGER (1. FFC Frankfurt); 8 Nadine KEßLER (Vfl Wolfsburg); 14 Isabelle LINDEN (Bayer Leverkusen); 16 Melanie LEUPOLZ (SC Freiburg); 18 Svenja HUTH (1. FFC Frankfurt); 19 Fatmire BAJRAMAJ (1. FFC Frankfurt); 20 Lena GOEßLING (Vfl Wolfsburg); 23 Sara DÄBRITZ (SC Freiburg)

FORWARDS: 9 Lena LOTZEN (FC Bayern München); 10; Dzsenifer MAROZSAN (1. FFC Frankfurt); 11 Anja MITTAG (LdB FC Malmö); 13 Celia OKOYINO DA MBABI (1. FFC Frankfurt)



Iceland's women's team have reached the final stages of the European Championship for only the second time in their history, and did so by coming top of their group. They qualified for the 2009 edition in Finland, but lost all three games in their group. The same fate might befall them this time, too.

Iceland are actually ranked 15th in the world as far as women's football is concerned, one place behind Holland (Norway, meanwhile, are 11th whilst Germany are, as usual, battling it out with the USA for top spot), so they are certainly not without hope. Just over half of the squad are based outside Iceland; seven of them are based in Sweden, another three in Norway, and two - Liverpool Ladies' Katrín Ómarsdóttir and Chelsea Ladies' Ólina Viðarsdóttir - ply their trade in England's WSL.


GOALKEEPERS: 1 Þóra Björg HELGADÓTTIR (LdB FC Malmö); 12 Sandra SIGURÐARDÓTTIR (Stjarnan); 13 Gudbjörg GUNNARSDÓTTIR (Avaldsnes)

DEFENDERS: 2 Sif ATLADÓTTIR (Kristianstads DFF); 3 Ólína G. VIÐARSDÓTTIR (Chelsea Ladies); 4 Glódís Perla VIGGÓSDÓTTIR (Stjarnan); 8 Kátrín JÓNSDÓTTIR (Umeå IK FF); 15 Anna Björk KRISTJÁNSDÓTTIR (Stjarnan); 17 Elisa VIÐARSDÓTTIR (ÍBV Vestmannæyjar)

MIDFIELDERS: 5 Hallbera Guðný GÍSLADÓTTIR (Piteå IF); 7 Sara Björk GUNNARSDÓTTIR (LdB FC Malmö); 11 Katrín ÓMARSDÓTTIR (Liverpool Ladies); 18 Guðný Björk ÓDINSDÓTTIR (Kristianstads DFF); 20 Þórunn Helga JÓNSDÓTTIR (Avaldsnes); 21 Soffía Arnþrúður GUNNARSDÓTTIR (Stjarnan)

FORWARDS: 6 Hólmfríður MAGNUSDÓTTIR (Avaldsnes); 9 Margrét Lára VIÐARSDÓTTIR (Kristianstads DFF); 10 Dóra María LÁRUSDÓTTIR (Valur); 14 Dagný BRYNJARSDÓTTIR (Valur); 16 Harpa ÞÓRSTEINSDÓTTIR (Stjarnan); 19 Fanndís FRIÐRIKSDÓTTIR (Kolbotn Idrettslag); 22 Rakel HÖNNUDÓTTIR (Breiðablik); 23 Elín Metta JENSEN (Valur)



The Dutch media have finally woken up to the fact that the country has a rapidly improving women's side; so much so, in fact, that the state TV channel NOS are planning on broadcasting all of their games live. Last time round, the team's progress was more or less ignored by the national media until they reached the semi-final stage, bowing out 2:1 to England after a hard-fought encounter.

A number of the team from then are still representing Holland at senior level, among them Daphne Koster, Sylvia Smit, record goalscorer Manon Melis and perhaps their most impressive player, defender Dyanne Bito. It will be difficult to imagine the Dutch side defeating Germany, though a win against Norway is certainly a possiblilty and they will be favourites to beat Iceland. 

It must be said, too, that they performed decently in the run-up to the tournament. A quarter-final place may be as far as they will get this time, though they could be one of the dark horses to go further than that in the tournament. We shall see.


GOALKEEPERS: 1 Loes GEURTS (Telstar); 16 Sari VAN VEENENDAAL (FC Twente); 23 Angela CHRIST (FC Utrecht)

DEFENDERS: 2 Dyanne BITO (AZ); 3 Daphne KOSTER (Ajax); 5 Claudia VAN DEN HEILIGENBERG (Telstar); 15 Leonne STENTLER (Ajax); 17 Siri WORM (FC Twente); 22 Mirte ROELVINK (FSV Gutersloh 2009)

MIDFIELDERS: 6 Anouk HOOGENDIJK (FC Utrecht); 7 Kirsten VAN DE VEN (Tyresö FF); 8 Sherida SPITSE (FC Twente); 10 Danielle VAN DE DONK (PSV/FC Eindhoven); 14 Renée SLEGERS (Djurgårdens IF Dam); 18 Anouk DEKKER (FC Twente); 20 Desirée VAN LUNTEREN (Ajax)

FORWARDS: 4 Merel VAN DONGEN (ADO Den Haag); 9 Manon MELIS (Ldb FC Malmö); 11 Lieke MARTENS (FCR 2001 Duisburg); 12 Maayke HEUVER (FC Twente); 13 Sylvia SMIT (FC Zwolle); 19 Mandy VERSTEEGT (Ajax); 21 Chantal DE RIDDER (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam)



Norway's women's team has won everything there is to offer in the women's game; the World Cup, the Olympic Games gold medal and the European Championship. The problem for the Norwegians is, however, they haven't won anything since 2000, and although they did finish in the runners-up spot in the 2005 Euros, it is unlikely that they will finish top of the pile this time.

The team has a wealth of experience to choose from in midfield, with players such as Ingvild Stensland, Trine Rønning and Solveig Gulbrandsen having long ago reached the 100-cap mark. The team is rather lightweight up front, however, and have lost their last four matches. In fact, they have only won one game out of the last seven, and that was after a penalty shoot-out against Sweden at the Algarve Cupin Portugal in March.

Norway may well beat Iceland, but could run into trouble against both Holland and especially Germany; having said that, a quarter-final spot is far from out of the question, though anything more than that would be a bonus indeed.

WOMEN'S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP HONOURS' LIST: 1987 - Winners (unofficial); 1989 - Runners-up (unofficial); 1991 - Runners-up (unofficial); 1993 - Winners; 2005 - Runners-up; 2009 - 3rd

GOALKEEPERS: 1 Ingrid HJELMSETH (Stabæk); 12 Silje VESTERBEKKMO (Røa IL); 23 Nora NESET GJØEN (Kolborn Idrettslag)

DEFENDERS: 2 Marita SKAMMELSRUD LUND (LSK Kvinner FK); 3 Marit FIANE CHRISTENSEN (Amazon Grimstad); 5 Toril HETLAND AKERHAUGEN (Stabæk); 6 Maren MJELDE (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam); 15 Nora HOLSTAD BERGE (Arna-Bjørnar); 18 Ingrid RYLAND (Arna-Bjørnar); 21 Ada HEGERBERG (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam)

MIDFIELDERS: 4 Ingvild STENSLAND (Stabæk); 7 Trine RØNNING (Stabæk); 8 Solveig GULBRANDSEN (Vålerenga); 10 Caroline GRAHAM HANSEN (Stabæk); 14 Gry TOFTE IMS (Klepp); Lene MYKJÅLAND (LSK Kvinner FK); 22 Cathrine DEKKERHUS (Stabæk)

FORWARDS: 9 Elise THORSNES (Stabæk); 11 Leni LARSEN KAURIN (Stabæk); 13 Melissa BJÅNESØY (IL Sandviken); 16 Kristine WIGDAHL HEGLAND (Arna-Bjørnar); 19 Ingvild ISAKSEN (Kolbotn Idrettslag); 20 Emilie HAAVI (LSK Kvinner FK)




The Danish women's national team have, in comparison to many European national sides, had a long and fairly distinguished history, though have only ever won the European Championship once, in 1979, back in the days when it was an unofficial competition. They haven't come close to winning the competition since, although they reached the semi-finals in 1984 and again in 2001. That is unlikely to change during Euro 2013, having qualified by a two-point margin in front of Austria.

Denmark may not be among the pre-tournament favourites, but there is a strong thread of experience running through the team, led by 36 year-old Katrine Søndergaard Pedersen, who is probably the most-capped player taking part in the Euros with 205 appearances for the senior team, and 105-cap Johanna Rasmussen, current top-scorer in the senior squad with 29 goals. 

The team will also be reliant on Pernille Harder, who scored 9 goals during the qualifying campaign. Five of the squad named for the Euros play in Sweden, and they shall be up against the hosts in their first match. Denmark will be favourites to win against both Italy and Finland, but the quarter-finals may be as far as they reach.

The DBU (Danish FA) are looking beyond the tournament, and recently commenced a project entitled Vision 2020, which aims to aid the development of Danish women's football from grassroots level to the elite division. Over 70000 Danish females are registered with the DBU, and this figure is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. It may be of little consequence now, but it will stand Danish football in good stead. A good showing at the Women's Euro 2013 would do no harm either, mind you.

WOMEN'S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP HONOURS' LIST: 1969 - Runners-up (unofficial); 1979 - Winners (unofficial); 1991 - 3rd; 1993 - 3rd

Denmark are not considered to be amongst those countries most likely to lift the Women's Euro 2013 trophy, 's

GOALKEEPERS: 1 Stina PETERSEN (Brøndby IF); 16 Cecille SØRENSEN (B93/HIK/Skjold); 22 Katrine ABEL (Taastrup FC)

DEFENDERS: 2 Line RØDDIK HANSEN (Tyresö FF); 4 Christina Ø. ØRNTOFT (Brøndby IF); 5 Janni ARNTH JENSEN (Fortuna Hjørring); 6 Mariann GAJHEDE KNUDSEN (Linköpings FC); 12 Line S. JENSEN (Fortuna Hjørring); 14 Malene MARQUARD OLSEN (Brøndby IF); 18 Theresa NIELSEN (Brøndby IF); 19 Mia BROGAARD (Brøndby IF)

MIDFIELDERS: 3 Katrine SØNDERGAARD PEDERSEN (Stabæk); 8 Julie RYDAHL BUKH (Brøndby IF); 9 Nanna CHRISTIANSEN (Brøndby IF); 15 Sofie JUNGE PEDERSEN (Fortuna Hjørring); 20 Sine HOVESEN (Fortuna Hjørring); 21 Cecille SANDVEJ (Brøndby IF); 23 Karoline SMIDT NIELSEN (Fortuna Hjørring)

FORWARDS: 7 Emma MADSEN (Brøndby IF); 10 Pernille HARDER (Linköpings FC); 11 Katrine VEJE (LdB FC Malmö); 13 Johanna RASMUSSEN (Kristianstads DFF); 17 Nadia NADIM (Fortuna Hjørring)



Decimated by injuries to a number of key players, Finland will not be expected to make many waves in the group, where their best chance of points will be in the tournament's opening match against Italy. Finnish goalkeeping duties are fairly evenly-shared between Minna Meriluoto and Tinja-Riikka Korpela; whoever ends up between the sticks will, one feels, be in for a busy time.

The experienced Sanna Talonen was Finland's top scorer in their qualifying group, where they finished three points in front of Ukraine, but she may find herself starved of the ball for long periods and the defence may find itself overworked at times. It will be up to highly-regarded players in defence such as Swedish-based Anna Westerlund and Susanna Lehtinen to help stem the tide.


GOALKEEPERS: 1 Minna MERILUOTO (Jitex BK); 12 Siiri VÄLIMAA (Nice Futis); 23 Tinja-Riikka KORPELA (Lilleström SK)

DEFENDERS: 2 Nea-Stina LILJEDAHL (FC Honka); 3 Tuija HYYRYNEN (Umeå IK FF); 4 Susanna LEHTINEN (KIF Örebro); 6 Laura KIVISTÖ (PK-35 Vantaa); 8 Katri NOKSO-KOIVISTO (Lilleström SK); 16 Anna WESTERLUND (Piteå IF); 22 Pirjo LEPPIKANGAS (PK-35 Vantaa)

MIDFIELDERS: 5 Tiina SAARIO (Åland United); 7 Annika KUKKONEN (Sunnanå SK); 10 Emmi ALANEN (Kokkola F10); 11 Nora HEROUM (FC Honka); 13 Heidi KIVELÄ (PK-35 Vantaa); 17 Janna LYYTIKÄINEN (Åland United); 18 Natalia KUIKKA (Merilappi United/Kokkola F10); 19 Henni MALINEN (FC Honka)

FORWARDS: 9 Marianna TOLVANEN (FC Honka); 14 Sanna TALONEN (KIF Örebro); 15 Leena PURANEN (Jitex BK); 20 Annica SJÖLUND (Jitex BK); 21 Ella VANHANEN (Pallokissat)



Whether he likes it or not, the best-known individual in the Italian camp will not be on the field, but managing the team; Antonio Cabrini, who boasts a World Cup winners' medal from 1982 and years of experience (and honours) with, amongst other clubs, Juventus and Fiorentina, will be in charge for the duration of the Azzurre's involvement in the tournament, which may not last very long. 

Italy will be without several players due to injury, and 38 year-old captain Patrizia Panico will be hoping to add to her total of almost 100 goals for the national team during the tournament; it has to be said, though, that her best chance of getting amongst the goals will be during the game against Finland, and she will be ably abetted throughout the tournament by team-mates such as Melania Gabbiadini, whilst Laura Neboli will be expected to pull the strings in defence. Italy won all but one of their games in qualiying for for Euro 2013; they may struggle against Denmark and Sweden, however.


GOALKEEPERS: 1 Sara PENZO (Brescia); 12 Chiara MARCHITELLI (Graphistudio Tavagnacco); 22 Katia SCHROFFENEGGER (Jena)

DEFENDERS: 2 Sara GAMA (Brescia); 3 Roberta D'ADDA (Brescia); 5 Federica DI CRISCIO (Bardolino Verona); 6 Laura NEBOLI (FCR 2001 Duisburg); 16 Elisa BARTOLI (Graphistudio Tavagnacco); 20 Raffaella MANIERI (Torres); 21 Giorgia MOTTA (Torres); 23 Cecilia SALVAI (Lugano)

MIDFIELDERS: 4 Alesia TUTTINO (Graphistudio Tavagnacco); 7 Giulia DOMENICHETTI (Torres); 10 Cristiana GIRELLI (Bardolino Verona); 11 Alice PARISI (Graphistudio Tavagnacco); 13 Elisa CAMPORESE (Graphistudio Tavagnacco); (Bardolino Verona) 17 Martina ROSUCCI (Brescia); 18 Daniela STRACCHI (Torres)

FORWARDS: 8 Melania GABBIADINI (Bardolino Verona); 9 Patrizia PANICO (Torres); 14 Sandy IANNELLA (Torres); 15 Ilaria MAURO (Graphistudio Tavagnacco); 19 Paola BRUMANA (Graphistudio Tavagnacco)



Sweden have only ever failed to qualify for the final stages of the European Championship once, back in 1991, seven years after winning the competition in 1984, in the years before it became a UEFA-recognised tournament. Otherwise, they have never failed to reach at least the quarter-finals in every other tournament, finishing as runners-up on no fewer than three occasions, though they were surprisingly knocked out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage in Finland in 2009. 

As hosts of Women's Euro 2013, Sweden will be expected to do well, and should qualify fairly easily from the group with the likes of the formidable Sara Thunebro in defence, veteran midfielder Therese Sjögran, forwards Kosovare Asilani, Marie Hammarström and the pin-up girl of Swedish women's football and current top scorer for the national side, Lotte Schelin, expected to shine. 

There is a healthy balance of youth and experience in the squad, and a semi-final place, coming on the back of a fine third-place at the 2011 World Cup, is within the team's capabilities. Sweden will be coached at the tournament by none other than Pia Sundhage, who, of course, managed the USA to World Cup and Olympic glory in recent years before taking over the helm of the Blågult at the end of last year.

The team became known for their little celebratory dance routines each time they scored at the last World Cup; do not bet against them indulging in more of the same this time round. Winning the tournament may be beyond them, but expect to see Sweden there or thereabouts at the end of the tournament.

WOMEN'S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP HONOURS' LIST: 1984 - Winners (unofficial); 1987 - Runners-up (unofficial); 1989 - 3rd (unofficial); 1995 - Runners-up; 2001 - Runners-up (unofficial)

GOALKEEPERS: 1 Kristin HAMMARSTRÖM (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC); 12 Hedvig LINDAHL (Kristianstads DFF); 21 Sofia LUNDGREN (Linköpings FC)

DEFENDERS: 2 Charlotte ROHLIN (Linköpings FC); 3 Stina SEGERSTRÖM (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC); 4 Amanda ILESTEDT (LdB FC Malmö); 5 Nilla FISCHER (Linköpings FC); 6 Sara THUNEBRO (FFC Frankfurt); 16 Lina NILSSON (LdB FC Malmö); 18 Jessica SAMUELSSON (Linköpings FC); 19 Elin MAGNUSSON (KIF Örebro DFF)

MIDFIELDERS: 7 Lisa DAHLKVIST (Tyresö FF); 11 Antonia GÖRANSSON (FFC Turbine Potsdam); 13 Emmelie KONRADSSON (Umeå IK FF); 15 There SJÖGRAN (LdB FC Malmö); 17 Caroline SEGER (Tyresö FF); 20 Marie HAMMARSTRÖM (KIF Örebro DFF)

FORWARDS: 8 Lotta SCHELIN (Olympique Lyonnais); 9 Kosovare ASILANI (Paris Saint-Germain); 10 Sofia JAKOBSSON (FC Rossiyanka); 14 Josefine ÖQVIST (Tyresö FF); 22 Olivia SCHOUGH (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC); 23 Jenny HJOHLMAN (Umeå IK FF)