The statistics certainly do not bode well for UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ finalists England as they prepare to face Germany, the holders and six-time winners, in their first major showpiece since reaching the inaugural European decider in 1984.
Silvia Neid's all-conquering squad have picked up from where other German teams of the past have left off in this competition, stretching their unbeaten record in the UEFA European Women's Championship, including qualifying, to 46 matches, or, to look at it another way, to a shade over 13 years. The last 34 of those have been wins, the latest coming on Monday in the quarter-finals at the Helsinki Football Stadium, where Germany recovered from a goal down at half-time to defeat Norway 3-1 thanks to goals from three substitutes – Simone Laudehr, Célia Okoyino da Mbabi and Fatmire Bajramaj.
There were signs, however, during the first half that Germany are not totally infallible as Norway hurried, cajoled and pressed a side which has so far had it all its own way during the tournament. That should give England, who have only avoided defeat twice in 18 meetings with Germany and never won, the added belief that there are chinks in the Mannschaft armour which can be exploited by the direct running of Karen Carney, the tenacity of Fara Williams or the craft of talismanic playmaker Kelly Smith.
What will happen?
Furthermore, in their most recent competitive meeting, at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, England held their opponents to a goalless draw, the only time since 1999 that Germany have failed to win a match in that tournament or this one. So, who do you think will prevail at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium? Can England finally be the team which ends Germany's stranglehold on the competition or will Neid's charges make it title number seven and a fifth in succession? Let us know your thoughts.
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