The UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship was launched for the 2007/08 season, having been approved by the UEFA Executive Committee on 22 May 2006.
The decision to begin the annual competition followed the inauguration of the biennial FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup starting in 2008 – the European tournament acts as a qualifier when it falls the same year as the global finals – and also allowed UEFA to further underline its commitment to women's football and recognise the continual increase of activities in this sector.
UEFA also hoped that the new championship would encourage and motivate those member associations not currently taking part in a women's European competition to do so.
UEFA's expectations were exceeded when 40 nations registered a team for the first edition, with the first qualifying round draw held on 19 February 2007. For the first season it was decided that four teams would progress to the finals, and UEFA itself acted as the host in its Swiss base of Nyon. Germany were to emerge champions ahead of France, Denmark and England, who all qualified for the World Cup.
The following year Germany retained the title with a 7-0 final defeat of Spain while France beat Norway to finish third. Spain went one better in 2010 with a penalty shoot-out win against the Republic of Ireland, who had ended Germany's run in the semi-finals, and Jorge Vilda's side successfully defended the trophy in 2011 – overcoming France with a last-gasp goal.
Germany reclaimed the crown 12 months later, knocking out Spain in the second qualifying round before a penalty shoot-out victory in the final against a team falling just short for the third time: France, who nonetheless went on to win the subsequent FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan. In 2013, after Germany had failed to qualify for the first time, Poland took their maiden women's title, edging out Sweden in the final.
That was the last four-team event in Nyon. From 2013/14 the finals were expanded to an eight-sided tournament with different hosts each year. Germany triumphed in the first edition of the larger finals in England; Spain then managed a third success in Iceland in 2015.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.