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Group A: Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland

Published: Monday 7 July 2014, 9.18CET
Scotland and Belgium lack finals pedigree compared to four-time runners-up Norway and the Netherlands, but their qualifying form is a match for anyone's.
Group A: Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland
Andrine Tomter, Synne Jensen and Guro Reiten in action for Norway in 2013 ©Sportsfile
Published: Monday 7 July 2014, 9.18CET

Group A: Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland

Scotland and Belgium lack finals pedigree compared to four-time runners-up Norway and the Netherlands, but their qualifying form is a match for anyone's.

Norway (hosts)
Norway have been runners-up four times at these finals, U18s included, but are yet to engrave their names on the trophy. They have had some postitive friendly results, and the last time they hosted this event, in 2001, they reached the decider. Jarl Torske was coach then and is just about still there for now: this will be his tenth and last final tournament after his appointment as men's senior national team assistant.

Best performance: runners-up 2003, 2008, 2011

Key players: Marit Clausen (defender), Cecilie Fiskerstrand (goalkeeper), Vilde Bøe Risa (midfielder), Synne Jensen (forward).

Jarl Torske, coach: "Our goal is to play the final in Oslo on 27 July. I think that would be a perfect end to my U19 career. We know it's going to be tough, but I think you've got to dare to dream when you're playing a final tournament at home. Having been runners-up in four finals, it would be great to go the whole way and win a gold medal."


Jill Roord in qualifying action

New coach André Koolhof successfully negotiated a tricky passage to Norway, his young side overcoming Serbia – an emerging team at this level – to round off the first stage when they were reliant on late goals. They had to find another gear in the elite round, beating Turkey 2-0 before grounding out a draw with the Republic of Ireland. Two goals from prodigy Jill Roord helped seal progress with a 4-1 win against Austria.

Best performance: semi-finals 2010

Key players: Inessa Kaagman (midfielder), Simone Kets (midfielder), Jill Roord (midfielder).

André Koolhof, coach: "Overall it's a good draw for us; but for all eight teams it's a good draw. They are two very good groups. We have a young team, but with a few very talented players. Some of them already play in the BeNe League."


Belgium celebrate progress

Belgium return to the final tournament for the third time, their confidence never higher having taken the prized scalp of Germany on the final day of qualifying. Belgium were on their way out of the competition until captain Tinne Van Den Bergh struck the only goal late on to stun the four-time champions. The Red Flames have avoided defeat just once in two previous finals campaigns: a goalless draw against a strong Sweden side in 2006.

Best performance: group stage 2006, 2011

Key players: Tinne Van Den Bergh (defender), Lucinda Michez (forward), Elke Van Gorp (midfielder), Tine De Caigny (defender).

Kristiaan Van Der Haegen, coach

©Ivan Klindić

Scotland were dominant in qualifying

Scotland secured a fourth tilt at the final tournament in some style, accounting for Russia and Iceland as they racked up 38 goals in six qualifiers – 13 more than any other team. Gareth Evans's attack-minded side have genuine hope, at the very least, of recording a first finals win. They have lost eight of their nine group stage matches to date, the exception a 3-3 draw with Italy in 2010.

Best performance: group stage 2005, 2008, 2010

Key players: Caroline Weir (midfielder), Zoe Ness (forward), Megan Cunningham (goalkeeper), Elizabeth Arnot (midfielder).

Gareth Evans, manager

Last updated: 14/07/14 9.42CET

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