A precocious Norway side and hosts Italy enjoyed spells in the limelight at the 2011 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, but it was Germany that shone brightest.
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A precocious Norway side and hosts Italy enjoyed spells in the limelight at the 2011 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, but it was Germany that shone brightest. By the final they were simply dazzling, overcoming the problems they had hitherto had in front of goal in record-breaking fashion.
If a familiar name prevailed in the end it is testament to the growing competitiveness of this competition that France and England, winners the previous two seasons, did not even make it to Emilia-Romagna. The Netherlands and Norway, respectively, saw to them in qualifying, taking their places in Group B alongside Spain and Germany – the section always looked like producing the champions despite an impressive showing from Italy.
Spearheaded by Melissa Bjånesøy, Norway made it through to the final with a side featuring ten players that would still be eligible the following year; two would still qualify for 2014. The striker, only discovered by the national team setup 15 months earlier, continued her record of scoring in every game with her seventh of the tournament in Imola. Sadly for the Scandinavian outfit, however, Germany were well on their way to racking up eight at the other end.
It was the perfect response to coach Maren Meinert's fear that a repeat of the wastefulness that had blotted an otherwise perfect campaign could prove costly. Yet for a while the showpiece threatened to realise her nightmare. All Germany had to show for an impressive first half of overwhelming dominance, when they suffocated Norway's attacking ambitions before passing them into submission, was Luisa Wensing's diving header.
It had been the same when these sides met 13 days earlier, as they wasted chances at one end as the Bjånesøy lurked at the other – only in added time did they make things safe, winning 3-1. There was no repeat. Germany doubled their lead shortly after half-time and the floodgates opened: by the time Bjånesøy got on the scoresheet midway through the second period her side were 6-0 down.
In the end it was 8-1, a record showpiece defeat leaving Norway coach Jarl Torske "embarrassed and humiliated" in his fourth losing final, at this level and the U18s before it. Yet there was no shame in his side being overrun by a team in such supreme form. After a four-year wait, Germany were back on top.