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With the European Competition for Women's Football now expanded to 17 nations, there was another change for the 1987-89 edition, the top two from each group progressing to two-legged quarter-finals prior to a four-team final round.
Group 1 was always going to be tough, with holders Norway up against England, Denmark and Finland. Norway's campaign began inauspiciously as they tallied just a point from their opening three games, including losses to Denmark and Finland. Denmark also beat England, and another win against Norway ensured the Danes had section supremacy.
England wanted three points against Finland to oust Norway, but could only draw 1-1, and two weeks later the holders won 3-1 in Blackburn to progress on goal difference. Elsewhere, the Netherlands and Sweden cruised through Group 2, West Germany and Italy dominated Group 3, and France and Czechoslovakia, competing for the first time, both negotiated Group 4 unbeaten.
Denmark may have provided the story of the qualifying round, but a 5-1 home loss to Sweden set up a 6-2 aggregate quarter-final defeat. Norway eased past the Dutch 5-1 over two legs, Italy overcame France 4-1, and a 3-1 aggregate win took West Germany - who were to host the final round - past Czechoslovakia.
West Germany's brilliant qualifying performance - scoring 18 goals without reply in the group stage, including a 10-0 success in Switzerland - had marked them out as contenders. And after drawing 1-1 with Italy in their semi-final in Siegen, the Germans showed a coolness from the penalty spot that their men's team was to find useful a year later in the FIFA World Cup, winning the shoot-out 4-2.
Meanwhile, in Ludenscheid, Norway were proving that their early qualifying form had been nothing but a blip, beating Sweden 2-1 in a meeting of previous champions. For Sweden there was the consolation of a 2-1 extra-time victory in Osnabruck that secured third place, but the final at the same venue on 2 July was more one-sided.
Just as the hosts had wrested the title from the holders two years earlier in Oslo, so West Germany were to take the crown off Norway. A 4-1 triumph with two goals from Ursula Lohn and one each for the prolific Heidi Mohr and Angelika Fehrmann - the latter's sole international strike - ensured the Germans won their only European women's title prior to reunification. As a united nation many more would follow.
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