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Sundhage and rivals relish Group A challenge

Published: Friday 9 November 2012, 20.25CET
Sweden's Pia Sundhage "loves the fact that we will play three very different opponents" in Denmark, Italy and Finland as UEFA.com hears from all four coaches in the hosts' Group A.
by Paul Saffer & Ian Holyman
from Gothenburg
Published: Friday 9 November 2012, 20.25CET

Sundhage and rivals relish Group A challenge

Sweden's Pia Sundhage "loves the fact that we will play three very different opponents" in Denmark, Italy and Finland as UEFA.com hears from all four coaches in the hosts' Group A.

UEFA Women's EURO 2013 hosts Sweden have been matched with Denmark, Italy and Finland in Group A and coach Pia Sundhage enjoys the contrast between their three opponents as she calls for a big crowd in the opener in Gothenburg on 10 July. UEFA.com hears from all four coaches.

Pia Sundhage, Sweden coach
I just love the fact we know who we are going to play and from now on we can just prepare and enjoy the road. [The opening game in Gothenburg] will be fun because if we can get the '12th player' and a big crowd it will be fun both for Denmark and for us, and it will be very important to have a great atmosphere. We play three very different teams. If you look at Italy, they do not concede many goals and they are very technical, so that will be one challenge. Then Finland, a fairly tough team, that will also be a very interesting game, a different game. I love the fact that we will play three very different opponents.

Antonio Cabrini, Italy coach
I think it's a good group. I don't think it's quite as difficult as the other two groups. It's a group in which northern Europe is well represented, and so – physically – it's a strong group. I'm happy with it. It's a good game [to start against Finland]. In a final European tournament, where there are only three games, you can't calculate. We want to start strongly, and we'll look to cause our opponents problems.

Kenneth Heiner-Møller, Denmark coach
I think that each group is a tough group, ours of course is a tough group, Finland are the lowest seeds I think and ranked ninth, so it is a tough group. Three times in a row [we have been in the opening game] and our experience is not good – we lost to China [at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup] and we lost to Finland [at UEFA Women's EURO 2009] but it will have to be third time lucky. With Sweden we have once again had bad experiences but hopefully this time it will be better. We lost out [to Sweden] in the qualification for the Olympics in 2007 and we lost out when we played for the [2011] World Cup but we will have to do better this time.

Andrée Jeglertz, Finland coach
All the teams we have are very good, for me as a Swede it is very inspirational to play against Sweden. And I have a lot of players in the Damallsvenskan [Swedish women's league], so it is only a challenge and a very inspirational spring for the finals. Denmark are also very good opponents and we know them quite well. Italy, we have revenge in mind as they beat us in World Cup qualification in 2010. They are going to be very interesting games and I am already looking forward to them as coach. In these three years [since becoming coach] we have been working very hard to reach this. We will see how we can prepare the players for seven months and what they can do together.

Full draw

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Last updated: 06/12/12 17.01CET

http://www.uefa.com/womenseuro/news/newsid=1891413.html#sundhage+rivals+relish+group+a+challenge

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