Dagmar Damková of the Czech Republic has been chosen to referee Thursday's UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ final between Germany and England at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium, assisted by Italy's Romina Santuari and Croatia's Lada Rojc, with Finland's Kirsi Heikkinen the fourth official.
It will be the 34-year-old Damková's fourth game of the finals having presided over two fixtures in the group stage, including the Olympic Stadium opener between Finland and Denmark and England's Helsinki Football Stadium game against Russia. She also took charge of the Turku quarter-final involving Finland and England. At the final tournament four years ago, Damková was the fourth official for the final when Germany defeated Norway in Blackburn. "It's definitely a big honour," she told uefa.com. "You work hard all year and this isn't something you dream about. Now the dream has come true and it's something that happens once in your life or maybe never."
Damková has overseen four senior finals, all in different competitions, during her time as a referee and rates her latest appointment as "one of the biggest games of my career" so far. "I did the final of the Olympics last year [between Brazil and the United States] and I've also had the UEFA Women's Cup final in 2006. It's the biggest at the moment for sure," she said.
That UEFA Women's Cup encounter was the second leg of the tie involving German rivals 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and 1. FFC Frankfurt and came eight days after she oversaw the 2005/06 Czech Cup final between AC Sparta Praha and FC Baník Ostrava which the former won on penalties. "In 2006, which was one of my big years, I handled the men's cup final back home between Sparta and Baník," added Damková, whose time is split between the Czech top flight and the second division. "That was also one of my biggest games and these four finals are things which are always in my heart and something I will always remember."
Despite her handling of high-profile matches, Damková admits to quite often experiencing some pre-match nerves. "There is always something, you must expect the unexpected and be ready for anything," she added. "It doesn't mean that because I've got the experience that I'm not nervous – everybody is and that's good. If you are not nervous then you might be in trouble."
Now in her second UEFA European Women's Championship, Damková has been encouraged by the development in not just the standard of refereeing, but also of the action of which she gets a close-up view. "I have to say there's been a big improvement in women's football as well as in the refereeing," she continued. "I feel very positive in general about women's football which is good."
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