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Group B: England, Sweden, Ireland, Spain

Published: Tuesday 8 July 2014, 9.10CET
There are three former winners in Norway this summer and all of them are in Group B – newcomers the Republic of Ireland are not there to make up the numbers, though.
Group B: England, Sweden, Ireland, Spain
England celebrate after scoring against Denmark in the elite round ©Kalevi Hämäläinen
Published: Tuesday 8 July 2014, 9.10CET

Group B: England, Sweden, Ireland, Spain

There are three former winners in Norway this summer and all of them are in Group B – newcomers the Republic of Ireland are not there to make up the numbers, though.

England
England made serene progress to Norway, improving with every game in the elite round having been given a bye through the initial stage. After narrow victories over Denmark and Serbia they cut loose against Finland in a repeat of the 2013 semi-final, scoring five unanswered goals. Mo Marley, the coach at this level for the last 13 years, hands over the reins to Brent Hills for Norway as she prepares England for August's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup – reward for finishing runners-up 12 months ago. There is also a much-changed playing lineup – between them the final squad made a solitary start in qualifying (Sarah Mayling).

Best performance: winners 2009

Key players: Kirstie Levell (Everton LFC), Carla Humphrey (Arsenal LFC, forward), Coral-Jade Haines (Birmingham City LFC, forward), Sarah Mayling (Aston Villa FC, forward)

Mo Marley, manager: "I'd never have imagined we'd get nine points from the [elite round] group we were in because it was a really tough group."

©David Catry

Sweden celebrate

Sweden
Sweden were the seventh country to lift the trophy in 2012 and can find positive omens for more success in Norway. The Swedes had eliminated the holders en route to the title two summers ago, becoming the first team in the competition's history to block Germany's route to the finals, and repeated the feat against France this time. Stina Blackstenius scored the only goal – her tenth – as Sweden proved the first side in over 18 months to inflict a competitive defeat on Les Bleuettes and rounded off an impressive campaign for what is a very young squad.

Best performance: winners 2012

Key players: Filippa Curmark (midfielder), Stina Blackstenius (forward), Lina Hurtig (midfielder/forward), Julia Wahlberg (midfielder)

Calle Barrling, coach: "I think this will go to the bitter end, with really even games. There is England and Spain but we know a lot about Ireland as well. They are a difficult team to break down. All in all it's a tough group, but all eight teams this year are really good. It's a wide-open tournament."

©UEFA.com

Ireland's ever-changing lineup

Republic of Ireland
After a near miss in 2013, Ireland will become the 25th team to grace these finals after backing up spring's impressive showing at La Manga, when they beat Sweden, despite injuries to key players for the elite round. Their goalkeeper and her understudy were among the casualties but still Ireland kept three clean sheets, showing defensive steel to add to the attacking muscle they flexed in the qualifying round. It meant two elite round goals were enough – both brilliant individual efforts from Clare Shine, who broke her leg in April, and Sarah Rowe.

Best performance: have never qualified

Key players: Chloe Mustaki (defender), Lauren Dwyer (defender), Sarah Rowe (midfielder), Clare Shine (forward)

Dave Connell, coach: "It's a very tough group – us and three previous winners. But, you know, we're not here to make up the numbers, we'll certainly give it a good go. We are looking forward to it. Three clean sheets, unbeaten in our last nine games – we're no pushovers."

©Carlos Costa/DPI

Andrea Esteban came to Spain's rescue

Spain
Spain pulled off the biggest shock in the competition's history when they stunned Germany to land this trophy in 2004 but have never returned to those heights. Jorge Vilda hopes to change that. The architect of recent WU17 success, he fully switched his attentions to the WU19s after guiding Spain to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup final earlier this year. In his absence, Pedro López led the side in the elite round having had a bye through the initial stage and was grateful for Andrea Esteban helping them negotiate tight games with Switzerland and Portugal.

Best performance: winners 2004

Key players: Andrea Esteban (forward); María Caldentey (midfielder); Marta Turmo (defender)

Jorge Vilda, coach: "We have been playing for five years now at the top level of Under-17 football, and that should be having an impact on not only the U19s but also the A national team. We will fight hard in Norway to go a long way and achieve that desired trophy."

Last updated: 15/07/14 9.16CET

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http://www.uefa.com/womensunder19/news/newsid=2117433.html#group+b+england+sweden+ireland+spain

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