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Ihringova ready for Ewood encounter

Slovakian match official Alexandra Ihringova will take charge of the showdown between Germany and Norway.

By Pete Sanderson in Preston

First female referee
The 30-year-old, who officiated at the game between Denmark and England, was the first and only woman to referee a match in the Slovakian men's second division and one of only two women from her country to referee women's matches at international level.

Physical training
Before becoming a referee, Ihringova played semi-professional football with Slovakian side Filozof Bratislava between 1991 and 1994. She also studied at university, taking a degree in Physical Training and Sport.

Continued ascent
Her refereeing career took off in 1997 when she moved into the men's fourth division before climbing to the third in 2000, and she continued her ascent by rising to the second tier in 2002.

Football flair
Ihringova joined the FIFA list in 2001 and has always claimed to have "a flair for the game", believing the key to being a good referee comes from a combination of physical fitness and an ability to communicate with players.

Leading referee
Ihringova, who was also in the middle for Finland's 2-1 victory over Denmark which secured their last-four place, is one of six of the world's leading referees who have been involved in the two-week competition in north-west England.

Impressive displays
The Slovakian succeeds Swiss referee Nicole Pétignat who took control of the final of the 2001 UEFA European Women's Championship. The semi-finals were refereed by Dagmar Damkova of the Czech Republic and American Kari Seitz.