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 for 2008 – the European tournament acts as a qualifier when it is in the same year as the global finals – and also allowed UEFA to underline further its commitment to women's football and recognise the continual increase of activities in this sector. UEFA also hoped that this new championship would encourage and motivate those member associations who do not currently take part in a women's European competition to do so.
UEFA's expectations were exceeded when 40 nations put in for the first edition, with the first qualifying round draw given the date of 19 February 2007. For the first season it was decided that four teams would progress to the finals, and UEFA itself acted as the hosts 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, with France beating Norway 3-1 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 by beating France with a last-gasp goal.
Germany reclaimed the title the following year, knocking Spain out in the second qualifying round before a penalty shoot-out win in the final against a side falling just short for the third time, France (who were to win the subsequent FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan). In 2013, after Germany failed to qualify for the first time, Poland took their maiden women's title, beating Sweden 1-0 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 again winning the first edition of the larger finals in England. Iceland, Belarus, the Czech Republic and Lithuania will stage subsequent tournaments.
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