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England against Germany is a fixture with a resonant footballing history and it will form a major female final for the first time when the nations meet in the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ decider at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium on Thursday.
• England have had a thrilling run to their first major final since they lost the inaugural European decider in 1984 on penalties to Sweden after both countries won their respective home legs 1-0.
• Having lost their first Group C game 2-1 to Italy in Lahti, England then beat Russia 3-2 at the Helsinki Football Stadium, recovering from two down (a loss would have knocked them out) to lead by half-time. A 1-1 draw with Sweden in Turku sent England through as one of the two best third-placed teams.
• They remained in Turku for a 3-2 quarter-final elimination of hosts Finland and then in Tampere on Sunday beat the Netherlands 2-1 after extra time, Jill Scott scoring a 116th-minute winner.
• England will be the only team to have played in all five venues during these finals.
• Germany, just as in 2001 and 2005, have reached the final with a perfect record. They defeated Norway 4-0, France 5-1 and Iceland 1-0 in their Group B fixtures in Tampere and overcame Italy 2-1 in Lahti in the quarter-finals.
• They were rematched with Norway at the Helsinki Football Stadium on Monday and trailed at half-time only for substitutes Simone Laudehr, Célia Okoyino da Mbabi and Fatmire Bajramaj to turn the game into a 3-1 win.
• If Birgit Prinz plays for Germany it will be her 50th appearance in this competition, and if her side wins it will be her fifth European title. That will be an outright record though Martina Voss played in Germany's victories of 1989, 1991, 1995 and 1997 as well as 2001 qualifying.
• Prinz is the competition all-time leading scorer, including qualifying, with 38 goals. Both she and Inka Grings have scored eight finals goals, two behind Heidi Mohr.
• Grings, on four goals, is on course to be the leading scorer for the second finals running. One behind in the race for the adidas Golden Boot award are her team-mate Bajramaj and England's Eniola Aluko. No one has ever scored five goals in a UEFA European Women's Championship final tournament.
• The holders, chasing a fifth straight title and seventh overall in ten editions, have not failed to win a game in this competition since 1999, a 34-match run dating back to a 4-4 draw in Italy on 11 November of that year. In this edition, qualifying included, they have won all 13 games.
• Their last EURO defeat was a 3-1 qualifying loss at home to Norway on 2 May 1996, a 46-match run. Germany have won their last 18 EURO finals games dating back to a 0-0 draw with Norway on 3 July 1997. Since the introduction of an eight-team final tournament that year they are unbeaten in 20 such games; their last loss at a final stage was in the 1993 third-place match in Italy, when they lost 3-1 to Denmark having been knocked out by the hosts on penalties.
• Indeed, only once since 1999 have Germany failed to win a match in a UEFA European Women's Championship or FIFA Women's World Cup – a 0-0 draw with England in the group stage of the 2007 World Cup.
• However, that is one of only two times in 18 fixtures that England have not lost to Germany; the other also a goalless draw in the 2007 Four Nations Tournament in Guangzhou, China.
• They have met once since, Germany winning an Unterhaching friendly 3-0 on 17 July 2008 with Sandra Smisek, Birgit Prinz and Melanie Behringer (penalty) on target.
• Prior to 2007 their previous competitive meetings were in 2003 World Cup qualifying, Germany winning 3-1 at home and 1-0 away on their way to lifting the trophy.
• In 2001 they met in the European Championship group stage, hosts Germany winning 3-0 in Jena.
• They also met in 1999 World Cup qualifying, Germany winning 3-0 at home and 1-0 away.
• In 1995 they played in the World Cup quarter-finals in Sweden, Germany triumphing 3-0. Current coach Silvia Neid and captain Birgit Prinz were in the Germany side; England manager Hope Powell was on the bench.
• The also met in the 1995 European Championship semi-finals. Germany won the first leg on 11 December 1994 in Watford 4-1 and the return 2-1 on 23 February 2005 in Bochum. In both games Neid started and Prinz came off the bench, scoring in the second leg.
• Their first competitive meeting was the two-legged 1991 European quarter-final, Germany winning 4-1 away and 2-0 at home, also in Bochum.
• Overall in competitive meetings Germany had won ten in a row prior to the 2007 draw.
• The overall goal tally from all 18 meetings is 49-10 in Germany's favour.
• No other side has played Germany so often without recording a win.
• After this tournament, Germany's next scheduled competitive match is their opening game as hosts of the 2011 World Cup on 26 June 2011 at Berlin's Olympiastadion. The final is on 17 July in Frankfurt, with further host cities including Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden, Leverkusen, Monchengladbach, Sinsheim and Wolfsburg. The only previous World Cup in Europe was in Sweden in 1995, when Norway beat Germany 2-0 in the final in Stockholm.
• These two countries have been dominant in UEFA national-team competition this year. They met in the Under-21 final in Sweden, Germany winning 4-0.
• Germany also did the U17 double, beating Spain 7-0 to retain the women's title in Switzerland and overcoming the Netherlands 2-1 after extra time on home soil for the men's crown.
• England had more joy at U19 level, winning the women's title for the first time with a 2-0 win against Sweden in Belarus and losing the men's final by the same scoreline to hosts Ukraine.
• For good measure, Manchester United FC and Werder Bremen respectively reached the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup finals last season.
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