2023 Women's Under-17 EURO semi-final preview: France vs Switzerland, Spain vs England
Monday, May 22, 2023
Tuesday's semi-finals in Tallinn match France with Switzerland before four-time winners Spain take on England.
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The UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship semi-finals are in Tallinn on Tuesday with France, Switzerland, Spain and England all in contention to succeed Germany as title holders. We preview the action in Estonia.
France vs Switzerland (16:00, Kadriorg Stadium, Tallinn)
Spain vs England (18:00, Lilleküla Stadium, Tallinn)
Spain/England vs France/Switzerland (18:00, Lilleküla Stadium, Tallinn)
All times CET, local time is one hour ahead
Seven-time semi-finalists and four-time finalists France are seeking their first WU17 EURO title, their only championship at this level coming in the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. They qualified for that by reaching their last EURO final to date, beating Switzerland 5-1 in the semis 11 years ago.
Switzerland actually beat France 2-1 this season in their opening round 1 game in Italy to eventually top that group. In the group stage in Estonia, however, France claimed first place in their section, beating both Sweden and Poland 3-0 before holding England to a 1-1 draw despite resting several key players with a semi-final already assured.
By contrast, after winning their opener 4-0 against hosts Estonia, Switzerland lost 3-0 to Spain. That meant Switzerland had to beat holders Germany at Kadriorg Stadium, no mean feat against a nation that had never gone out in the group stage of a WU17 EURO or World Cup.
But Iman Beney put Switzerland ahead and after an equaliser on the hour, captain Noemi Ivelj converted a 71st-minute penalty to spark wild celebrations and ensure a return to the stadium to face France. Chiara Wallin is suspended for Switzerland after two bookings in the group stage.
- Taeryne Job and Mélinda Mendy both played in the semi-finals a year ago as France lost 1-0 to Germany.
- Switzerland beat Germany in the 2015 semi-finals. That was the last time Germany had failed to reach the final before their exit on Saturday.
Spain were pipped in last year's final by Germany on penalties but little has gone wrong for them since. That squad travelled to India for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and retained their global title, while this season's selection have won every game in their EURO campaign. Those victories include a 2-0 group stage triumph over Germany and, at Lilleküla Stadium, wins against Switzerland (3-0, with first place assured and the squad rotated) and Estonia (6-0).
Both those games at Estonia's national stadium featured hat-tricks, respectively by Cris Redondo and Marisa, while against Germany there were two goals by Vicky López, who was already a key player at last season's EURO and won the Golden Ball at the World Cup, at which Ainhoa Alguacil and Cristina Librán also featured.
England, who defeated Estonia 3-0 in their round 1 contest at Lilleküla Stadium in October, also progressed with a game to spare here by defeating Poland 2-1 and Sweden 3-1, but the 1-1 draw with France meant they finished second in Group B on goal difference. In that game, though, Mo Marley – coaching England here in the absence of Natalie Henderson – was able to rest some usual starters including Michelle Agyemang, who is top scorer at the finals on four goals after doubles against Poland and Sweden.
- Spain are in their ninth straight semi-final, last missing out in 2011/12, and hope to reach a tenth final, one ahead of the record they jointly hold with Germany.
- England have lost all four previous semi-finals, including to Spain in Burton-upon-Trent in 2013/14.