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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)


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