Finland coach Michael Käld believes hosting UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ will provide the ideal incentive for the national team, energising young and older players alike.
The country was chosen ahead of the Netherlands to stage the finals, having held the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in 2004. "It's a great day for Finnish football and for women's and girl's football especially," Käld told uefa.com." We have done a good job on the pitch for a number of years and we also have a good record of organising tournaments."
He added: "The tournament will motivate our older players to keep on playing, and it sets a perfect goal for our younger generation. Although we will miss the important qualification matches before the final tournament, I am confident that with proper planning, we'll be on top of our game in front of our home supporters."
Finland have long been a leading force in women's football, and reached the semi-finals of UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2005™, where they were defeated by eventual winners Germany. They are currently involved in a tight battle with Denmark and Spain to qualify for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.
UEFA Chief Executive Lars-Christer Olsson told uefa.com the two bids were almost inseparable, but that UEFA's Executive Committee had taken into account the Netherlands' hosting of the men's UEFA European Under-21 Championship next summer.
"The two bids were more or less even. The Executive Committee was of the opinion that we should spread the competitions through different countries. Already next year, the Netherlands is organising the U21 final round, so I think this is one of the reasons they decided to go for Finland," he said.
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