Serbia enjoyed a remarkable run to their maiden major women's final tournament, dusting themselves after a 7-0 opening day defeat to qualify in impressive fashion.
Sweden meted out that autumn thrashing but despite concluding the first qualifying round with another loss, Serbia scraped through. They were a different side in the second stage, beating the Republic of Ireland and Denmark before Nevena Damjanović's fourth of the campaign made it three wins in three with the only goal against Switzerland. Before this season Serbia had not picked up a victory in the second qualifying round since 2005.
"We've worked on ourselves, tried to learn more," said coach Milan Rastavac. "We have a problem because we have such a small pool of players [there are only 1,250 registered female players in Serbia] but we turned it into a positive – to concentrate our focus and attentions on forming a strong group."
Route to finals
First qualifying round: 0-7 Sweden, 4-2 Ukraine, 1-2 Slovakia (Group 5 runners-up)
Second qualifying round: 2-0 Republic of Ireland, 4-2 Denmark, 1-0 Switzerland (Group 4 winners)
Top scorer: Nevena Damjanović (4)
Nevena Damjanović (midfielder, ŽFK Spartak), Jelena Canković (midfielder, ŽFK Spartak), Jovana Damjanović (forward, LASK Crvena zvezda)
Coach: Milan Rastavac
Date of birth: 01/11/1973
Playing career: FK Vojvodina, FK Mladost Bački Jarak, FK Dinamo Pančevo, FK Kabel
Coaching career: RFK Novi Sad, Al-Nasr SCSC (Benghazi), Serbia women's U19
An industrious defensive midfielder as a player, Rastavac represented the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia at youth level but spent much of his career in the second tier. He began coaching at Novi Sad, city rivals of his first club Vojvodina, before a short stint in Benghazi, Libya. He returned home in 2007, accepting a role with the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) and in 2009 he became coordinator of the women's youth section. Rastavac has been at the U19 helm since January 2010.
UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship best
Group stage: 2012
Honours in other UEFA women's competitions
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