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UEFA Women's EURO Group C preview

France are many people's title tip but 2009 runners-up England, Russia and Spain will prove tough opponents in Norrkoping and Linkoping from Friday. UEFA.com previews the section.

UEFA Women's EURO Group C preview
UEFA Women's EURO Group C preview ©UEFA.com


England reached the UEFA Women's EURO 2009 final 25 years after making that stage in the inaugural continental competition.

Hope Powell had played in the 1984 two-legged final against Sweden, lost on penalties; by 2009, she had already been coach for more than a decade. Although England lost 6-2 to Germany in the Helsinki decider, they confirmed their new status as one of Europe's leading forces. They have not failed to qualify for a major tournament since 2003, and reached the 2007 and 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup quarter-finals.

The growth of the game in England was underlined in 2011 by the launch of the FA Women's Super League, and the next year more than 70,000 fans were at Wembley to watch Powell's English-dominated Great Britain side beat Brazil 1-0 at the Olympics.

Best performance: runners-up 1984, 2009

Qualifying: Group 6 winners, P8 W6 D2 L0 F22 A2 Pts20

Qualifying top scorer: Stephanie Houghton,  Jill Scott, Ellen White, Rachel Williams, Rachel Yankey 3

Key players: Alex Scott (defender, Arsenal LFC), Jill Scott (midfielder, Everton LFC), Kelly Smith (forward, Arsenal LFC)

Coach: Hope Powell

They say: "We've got some tough competitors, but I think that usually brings the best out of this side. We want to step up to the plate and show what we're about." – Anita Asante

The French women's national team played their first international as early as 1971 but it is only in the last decade or so that women's football has attracted widespread interest in the country.

Having qualified for the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup in the days of Marinette Pichon, it was another achievement that year, winning the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, that has proved the catalyst to current success.


The coach who masterminded that triumph, Bruno Bini, is now in charge of the senior squad, and with many of those former U19 players they are now a world-class force, proved by their runs to the semis of the 2011 Women's World Cup and 2012 Olympics, where they were the only European side to make the last four at the Games. Many of the team have also been the core of the Olympique Lyonnais side that won the 2011 and 2012 UEFA Women's Champions League finals and lost this year's decider to VfL Wolfsburg.

Best performance: quarter-finals/group stage of eight-team tournament: 1989, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009

Qualifying: Group 4 winners, P8 W8 D0 L0 F32 A2 Pts24

Qualifying top scorer: Eugénie Le Sommer 7

Key players: Camille Abily (midfielder, Olympique Lyonnais), Louisa Necib (forward, Olympique Lyonnais), Eugénie Le Sommer (forward, Olympique Lyonnais)

Coach: Bruno Bini

They say:
"I would say that we have a bit more talent in our team, and also the ability to make the difference. I hope that will be the case during the EURO." – Camille Abily

Russia have proved consistent performers since their team was formed, reaching the 1999 and 2003 Women's World Cup quarter-finals and usually qualifying for UEFA Women's EURO.

The one they missed was 2005 when they lost to Finland in the play-offs but that year they won the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship and members of that generation, including Elvira Todua, Elena Morozova and Elena Terekhova, have now become the core of the senior squad.

©Getty Images

They returned to the finals in 2009, beating Scotland on away goals but exiting in the group stage, and again needed a play-off this time, seeing off surprise package Austria. That two-legged tie were the first games in charge for Sergei Lavrentyev after he replaced Farid Benstiti following his return to France in the summer.

Best performance: quarter-finals/group stage of eight-team tournament: 1993 (as Soviet Union/CIS), 1995, 1997, 2001

Qualifying: Group 1 runners-up, P10 W7 D1 L2 F31 A6 Pts22

Qualifying top scorer: Natalia Shlyapina 7

Play-offs: v Austria W2-0(a), D1-1(h), agg: W3-1

Key players:  Elvira Todua (goalkeeper, FC Rossiyanka), Elena Morozova (midfielder, FK Zorkiy Krasnogorsk), Natalia Shlyapina (forward, FC Rossiyanka)

Coach: Sergei Lavrentyev

They say: "It's a very important event for me. Because in my 30-year life I have never yet taken part in a European Championship or a World Cup. Previously I was into futsal, and I came to football to participate in this kind of competition. That is why it's the greatest event." – Natalia Shlyapina


Spain reached the 1997 semi-finals but had not qualified since until their dramatic play-off defeat of Scotland 15 years later.

For UEFA Women's EURO 2009, they surprisingly lost to the Netherlands in the play-offs having only just been pipped to an automatic place by England when they came back from two down to draw 2-2. England also got the better of them in 2011 Women's World Cup qualifying. This time, Spain had hopes of first place in their group after they recovered from two down to draw 2-2 with a late goal at home to Germany, who had not dropped a qualifying point since 1999. But away losses to Germany and then Switzerland left Spain having to make do with the play-offs.

©Getty Images

Away to Scotland at Hampden Park, they came from behind thanks to Adriana's goal, but she then had a penalty saved. In the home return, another Adriana strike pegged back Scotland for extra time in Madrid, where the visitors scored first. With seven minutes left, Silvia Meseguer levelled the aggregate scoreline but Scotland still led on away goals, and when Verónica Boquete's late penalty was saved all seemed lost. However, she was to score with the very last kick to send Spain through. Ignacio Quereda has been at the helm since the late 1980s.

Best performance: semi-finals 1997

Qualifying: Group 2 runners-up, P10 W6 D2 L2 F43 A14 Pts20

Play-offs: v Scotland D1-1(a), W3-2aet(h), agg: 4-3

Qualifying top scorer:
Verónica Boquete 11

Key players: Silvia Meseguer (midfielder, RCD Espanyol), Sonia (forward, FC Barcelona), Verónica Boquete (forward, Tyresö FF)

Coach: Ignacio Quereda

They say: "The objective we have, which would be fantastic, is to get through the group stages. But we like to think from match to match. If we go there only with the intention of getting through the first round, we would not be a competitive team." – Verónica Boquete

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