The FIFA Women's World Cup, which ended on Sunday in Germany, will prove a great inspiration to bronze-medallists and the hosts of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 – Sweden.
Not only did crowds flock to the games and tune in on television in unprecedented numbers for a European tournament, but Thomas Dennerby's side made an impressive run to the semi-finals. Swedish Football Association (SvFF) president Lars-Åke Lagrell, whose body also organised the successful 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, spoke to UEFA.com about its plans for the finals in July 2013 which will conclude at the new national Solna Arena.
UEFA.com: How are the preparations going for EURO 2013?
Lars-Åke Lagrell: We had a level of organisation in place from our U21 tournament [in 2009], so of course we have used a lot from that organisation structure.
UEFA.com: What lessons did you learn from the U21s that you'll be able to use for the tournament in 2013?
Lagrell: In some venues we have the same people in place. And they are family, they work hard for the spectators. Of course we are at the beginning of the organisation process, but we aren't starting from zero this time – we have started from a higher level because of our U21 tournament.
UEFA.com: What kind of tournament do you envisage taking place in Sweden in two years' time?
Lagrell: Our goal is to have stadiums with a lot of spectators and, at the end of the tournament, a real final with 50,000 fans in Stockholm. But of course we have to work for it. It is a lot of work to raise that interest in ladies' football. But I can also say that women's football in Sweden is very strong. Around 30% of players overall are female, so we have a lot of girls teams, and from that we also have a [foundation] for many spectators.
UEFA.com: Because Sweden hosted the Women's World Cup and the Women's EURO in the 1990s, did that move women's football onto one level, which you are now looking to improve upon?
Lagrell: Yes, that's right. And that was also the reason for us to ask for a new tournament. We have felt the benefits of the final tournaments we staged previously, and now it is time for the next step.
UEFA.com From the outside, you seem to have been working closely with World Cup hosts Germany. Are there things you've been learning that you might want to use in two years?
Lagrell: I hope so. Of course we are at the beginning of the organisation of our tournament. But I hope we can take a lot, not only from the U21 tournament, but also from this summer's finals in Germany.
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