Caroline Seger ended her Sweden career as the European cap record-holder. We look at the seven with a double century.
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Caroline Seger, the most-capped European, has ended her Sweden career with 240 appearances.
More than 20 female players have reached 200 senior international caps, including seven Europeans, with Netherlands captain Sherida Spitse the latest to get there on 24 June 2022.
We salute the seven history-making double-centurions led by Seger, who beat Birgit Prinz and Therese Sjögran's old European record of 214 in 2021. Spitse, the only one of the seven still active in international football now Seger has stepped back, has also passed that mark.
240: Caroline Seger (Sweden)
Midfielder Seger reached 214 caps on 10 June 2021 in the 1-0 friendly win against Norway and broke the record five days later against Australia. She then added to her tally in the Olympics, where just as in 2016 Sweden took silver; Seger also has claimed three FIFA Women's World Cup bronzes in her 14 major tournaments. She made her senior Sweden bow in 2005, later that year going to the first of five Women's EUROs. During the fifth, in 2022, she moved into the all-time top ten cap-winners worldwide, before her Sweden side were knocked out in the semi-finals.
Was at her fifth World Cup in 2023 but injury restricted her to three appearances totalling around 70 minutes and though she faced Switzerland and Italy in the new UEFA Women's Nations League that October, Seger announced her international retirement at the end of 2023.
227: Sherida Spitse (Netherlands)
Spitse made her Netherlands debut on 31 August 2006 away to England in London, and nearly 16 years later reached 200 against the same nation in Leeds. The highlight of the midfielder's international career so far was victory in the UEFA Women's EURO 2017 final in Enschede. She led the hosts out, with squad captain Mandy van den Berg on the bench, scored a free-kick in a 4-2 victory and was named player of the match. Spitse helped the Netherlands to the 2019 World Cup final too and, having missed the 2021 Olympics through injury, has taken her tally to seven tournaments by reaching the quarter-finals of Women's EURO 2022 and the 2023 World Cup.
214: Birgit Prinz (Germany)
The former joint-most-capped European retains the record goal tally of 128, not to mention winning two FIFA Women’s World Cups, five UEFA Women’s EUROs and two Olympic bronze medals. The top scorer and player of the tournament at the 2003 World Cup, striker Prinz was the figurehead of the Germany team that dominated Europe and often further afield pretty much from her debut in 1994 to retirement in 2011. Now a sports psychologist at TSG Hoffenheim as well as working in a similar role with Germany.
214: Therese Sjögran (Sweden)
Sjögran bowed out at the 2015 World Cup by equalling Prinz’s European caps record. The hard-working central midfielder went to 11 major tournaments at the core of a fantastic Swedish side, but twice fell in epic finals to Prinz’s Germany, at Women’s EURO 2001 and the 2003 World Cup. Sporting director at FC Rosengård, their squad including her good friend Seger when she broke Sjögran's mark.
210: Katrine Pedersen (Denmark)
The defender, and occasional midfielder, enjoyed an international career that stretched from 1994 to 2013, when she retired pregnant. Her club career took her to England, Norway, Sweden and Australia, while with Denmark she played at seven major tournaments – her first the 1995 World Cup aged 18. Now works as a teacher.
204: Patrizia Panico (Italy)
Like Prinz (and Scotland’s Julie Fleeting and Italy’s Carolina Morace), Panico ended her career with more than 100 international goals. After her final cap in 2014, awarded 18 years after her debut, it seemed strange not to see her up front – and scoring – for the Azzurre. In 2017 joined Italy's male youth coaching set-up with the Under-16s then U15s, also working with the U21s before a spell in charge of Fiorentina women.
203: Gemma Fay (Scotland)
The most-capped goalkeeper, male or female, ever, Fay’s international career ran from 1998 to 2017. In that time Scotland went from a team in Europe’s then Class B (competing for promotion rather than qualification) to one that reached a major finals at UEFA Women’s EURO 2017, where Fay won her last three caps. Now a senior figure in Scottish women’s rugby union.
Last updated 4 December 2023