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Wednesday, July 10, 2013



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)


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