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Wednesday, July 10, 2013



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)


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