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England face debutants Austria, Italy, Portugal

Published: Friday 22 November 2013, 9.48CET
UEFA.com hears from the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship Group A contenders as hosts England lock horns with debutants Austria, Italy and Portugal.

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Published: Friday 22 November 2013, 9.48CET

England face debutants Austria, Italy, Portugal

UEFA.com hears from the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship Group A contenders as hosts England lock horns with debutants Austria, Italy and Portugal.

Hosts England face debutants Austria, Italy and Portugal in UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship Group A. UEFA.com profiles the contenders – get the thoughts from each camp by clicking on the video player above.

GROUP SCHEDULE

England
The Three Lionesses qualified for the first four-team UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship in 2008 and five years on are staging the inaugural eight-sided finals.

Lois Fidler has been in charge since the squad first came together in September 2007, steering England to the semi-finals of both the European Championship and FIFA U-17 World Cup in their first season. Since then, Fidler's side have failed to reach a major tournament but now have the opportunity to prove themselves on home soil.

Friendly results in 2013/14: Denmark 3-4, Norway 1-1, Sweden 1-4, Iceland 2-0 (all Nordic Tournament, Iceland), United States 0-6 (h, Hinckley), Wales 5-0 (h, Telford)

Key players
Leah Williamson (defender, Arsenal LFC), Keira Walsh (midfielder, Blackburn Rovers LFC), Ashleigh Plumptre (forward, Birmingham City LFC)

UEFA European Women's U17 Championship best
Fourth place: 2008

Honours in other UEFA women's competitions
UEFA European Women's U19 Championship
Winners: 2009
Runners-up: 2007, 2010, 2013

UEFA European Women's Championship
Runners-up: 1984, 2009

Italy
Having reached two UEFA Women's EURO finals and been crowned continental Under-19 champions, Italy will make their UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship debut.

The Azzurre were irresistible in the qualifying round, but subsequently needed a late winner from substitute Annamaria Serturini to beat Denmark 2-1 and snatch first place from Portugal, who qualified as best runners-up and will face Italy in their second game in England.

"We are very satisfied with the draw because we avoided strong sides like Germany, Spain and France. We have faced Austria in friendly games, and in the [2012/13] first qualifying round we defeated England 4-1 in Belfast, so we are confident going into the tournament," said coach Enrico Sbardella.

Qualifying round: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 6-0, Bulgaria 10-0, Switzerland 5-1 (Group 9 winners)

Elite round: Czech Republic 1-0, Portugal 1-2, Denmark 2-1 (Group 3 winners)

Key players
Lisa Boattin (defender, ACFD Pordenone), Manuela Giugliano (midfielder, ACFD Pordenone), Gloria Marinelli (forward, AFD Grifo Perugia)

Qualifying top scorer
Manuela Giugliano: 7

UEFA European Women's U17 Championship best
First qualification

Honours in other UEFA women's competitions
UEFA European Women's Championship
Runners-up: 1993, 1997
UEFA European Women's U19 Championship
Winners: 2008

Austria
Dominik Thalhammer's side underlined their potential for a first UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship finals appearance when they beat holders Poland away to top their qualifying round section with 18 unanswered goals. At home for the elite round, they took their season goal tally to 31, progressing with a perfect record. This is their first female final tournament at any level.

Qualifying round: Azerbaijan 7-0, Kazakhstan 10-0, Poland 1-0 (Group 8 winners)

Elite round: Greece 2-1, Belarus 6-0, Russia 5-1 (Group 2 winners)

Key players
Katharina Naschenweng (defender, Carinthian Soccer Women), Barbara Dunst (midfielder, LUV Graz), Viktoria Pinther (forward, SKV Altenmarkt)

Qualifying top scorer
Julia Kofler: 8

UEFA European Women's U17 Championship best
First qualification

Portugal
Portugal surprised many last year by reaching the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship; now they have qualified at U17 level for the first time. After emerging from qualifying round Group 6 as runners-up behind Sweden, Portugal were six minutes away from topping their elite round section. Italy would pip them to the post, however, leaving it late to edge Denmark, while Portugal survived as the best second-placed side.

Qualifying round: Sweden 0-3, Serbia 2-0, Israel 2-0 (Group 6 runners-up)

Elite round: Denmark 0-0, Italy 2-1, Czech Republic 1-1 (Group 3 runners-up)

Key players
Leandra Pereira (forward, Vilaverdense FC), Inês Silva (defender, FD Laura S Moim Serra)

Qualifying top scorer
Carolina Ferreira: 3

UEFA European Women's U17 Championship best
First qualification

Last updated: 22/11/13 10.07CET

http://www.uefa.com/womensunder17/news/newsid=2022566.html#england+face+debutants+austria+italy+portugal

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