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Germany complete fourth success

Germany's ended their four-year wait for the European crown thanks in part to the scoring exploits of the Kerschowski twins.

A four-year wait for a fourth triumph by Germany was ended in 2006
A four-year wait for a fourth triumph by Germany was ended in 2006 ©Sportsfile

Germany's four-year wait for a fourth title ended in 2006 but the results made their triumph look more straightforward than it was.

They cruised through qualifying to reach Switzerland along with holders Russia, 2005 runners-up France, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and debutants Belgium. On the first day of the finals, however, Germany needed a late equaliser from substitute Ann-Christian Angel to hold Sweden 1-1 while elsewhere in Group A, Denmark came from behind to beat ten-player Belgium 2-1.

Two days later Belgium held Sweden 0-0 and Germany defeated Denmark 2-0 in a game delayed by a thunderstorm in Langenthal. First place was confirmed by Germany's 4-0 victory against Belgium but Sweden crashed out unbeaten as they again finished goalless in a tense match against arch-rivals Denmark, with whom they had also drawn in the first qualifying round.

Group B began with a rematch of the 2005 final, as well as an opening game in that competition as Russia took on France. The result resembled the group game rather than the decider because 12 months on from opening with a 4-0 win, France defeated the holders 4-1, Marie Laure Delie scoring twice. Switzerland overcame the Netherlands 2-0 but after taking the lead against Russia the hosts lost 2-1 to two Elena Danilova goals. France defeated the Dutch 1-0 and then Switzerland 3-0 thanks to three second-half goals. That put them above second-placed Russia, who ensured progress by beating the Netherlands 5-1, Danilova's four goals a record for a single Women's U19 finals match.

However, Danilova − who was to finish competition top scorer for the second year running with seven goals, and a tournament best of 17 including qualifying − was unable to find a way past Germany in the Berne semi-final. It was these nations' third consecutive last-four encounter, and Germany emulated their 2004 win rather than 2005 loss as they came through 4-0. It was 0-0 at half-time but Germany coach Maren Meinert brought on Angel and Monique Kerschowski; both scored within five minutes, Juliane Maier swiftly converted a free-kick and the other Kerschowski twin, Isabel, completed the success.

Over in Solothurn it was a closer affair between France and Denmark but Les Bleuettes prevailed 1-0 thanks to Delie's header 20 minutes from time - her fifth of the finals having scored in every game - although their opponents hit the woodwork, not for the first time, late on.

France thus had the chance to make up for their final loss 12 months before, but it was not to be. Isabel Kerschowski made it 1-0 on 13 minutes and early in the second half rolled the ball in from long distance after she had skipped past goalkeeper Véronique Pons. Monique Kerschowski, starting the game this time, was not to be outdone and with 15 minutes left her deflected goal meant a remarkable knockout phase double for the sisters. It also meant France, having reached their fourth of five U19 finals, were beaten at that stage for the third time.