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2012: Elin Rubensson

Sweden forward Elin Rubensson enhanced her growing reputation by finishing top scorer in Antalya but it was her selfless contribution to the team that marked her out from the rest.

Elin Rubensson celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Denmark
Elin Rubensson celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Denmark ©Sportsfile

The five-goal top scorer in Antalya, Sweden forward Elin Rubensson reached dizzy heights at the 2012 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship but it was her all-round performance that caught the eye.

The 19-year-old propelled Sweden to the finals with eight goals in six matches and arrived in southern Turkey under a weight of expectation. She immediately quelled any pressure by nonchalantly dispatching a penalty against England in their Group B opener. Rubensson always spoke with humility; far from hogging the limelight, her priority was the team.

Against Serbia, the Malmö FF forward found the net with a majestic header, and doubled her tally after the break, pick-pocketing Jasna Djordjević and delicately lifting the ball over the goalkeeper. It was a virtuoso display of composure, poise and technique, while a workmanlike facet came to the fore as she tirelessly bridged the gap between midfield and attack.

Rested for the final group game against Spain, Rubensson returned with menace to tease and torment Denmark's massed ranks. The semi-final was just six minutes old when she beguiled defenders and unleashed a finish that oozed class. The best was yet to come, however, a sumptuous 25-metre free-kick that left Maria Christensen rooted to the spot and all but secured Sweden's final berth.

A peripheral figure for much of the showpiece, an air of eminence still graced her every touch; she intrigued with and without the ball. With Spain seemingly comfortable the player for the big occasion refused to relent. Racing through, she forced Dolores Gallardo to spill her smart centre and Malin Diaz reacted quickest to seal Sweden's crown.

What next? "I want to play for the A team in a big competition. Maybe next year's European Championship. I'm an ambitious person and want to make it to the top," she told UEFA.com.