Poland and Sweden ready for the final
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Poland and Sweden will battle it out on Friday to win the 2013 UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship in Nyon with both looking for a maiden success in the tournament.
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There will be a new name on the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship trophy on Friday as Poland and Sweden meet in the last final to be staged in Nyon before an expanded version of the tournament begins later this year in England.
Sweden have the chance to add a new trophy to a proud heritage in the women's game that has included one UEFA Women's EURO crown and two U19 titles, the latest of which was achieved last July. Poland go in search of a first international triumph since the U18 men in 2001 and a maiden women's success at any level.
Sweden go into the game on the back of a semi-final penalty success against two-time former champions Spain, a result that has filled them with belief that they can achieve even greater things. "Yes, that is for sure," said midfielder Anna Oskarsson. "We beat Spain, who were the favourites here, so of course that gives you more self-confidence. They are very good, so for sure the self-confidence has become stronger after this victory, no doubt."
Despite their renewed confidence coach Yvonne Ekroth is under no illusions about the challenge Poland will provide: "They are very organised, they are physical, and they have a good forward, so it's going to be a tough game, a more physical game," she said. "I don't know if we had too much respect for Spain, because usually we don't back off so much when our opponents have the ball, so we have to fix some things before the final."
Poland coach, Zbigniew Witkowski is also focused on the job in hand. He said: "We will do our best to play our game, show our best features and preparation. We won’t be focused on the score but on the task we have to complete."
Their task has been dealt a blow with the likely loss of their captain, Katarzyna Gozdek, who sustained a knee injury during their 3-1 semi-final success against Belgium. "I think that it does weaken us," said forward Ewa Pajor.
"She is our captain, but I think that we will somehow manage without her. All of our players are equally good. Any girl who takes her position will play just as she would have played, and we will play for her, for our captain.
"This year we can beat anybody," added a bullish Pajor. "We have beaten some great teams, amongst others Norway, Austria and Belgium. Sweden are our final opponents in this European Championship. We will do our best and I hope we will be fine."