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Preview: Norway v Spain, Ireland v Netherlands

A Spain team that have never lost a last-four fixture lie between Norway and a dream final, while Ireland and the Netherlands meet for the second time in a few months.

The trophy on display at tournament HQ
The trophy on display at tournament HQ ©Sportsfile

UEFA.com previews Thursday's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-finals.

Norway v Spain (18.00CET, live on Eurosport)
The hosts are one step from a dream final farewell for outgoing coach Jarl Torske at Norwegian football's spiritual home, the Ullevaal, on Sunday. Yet improving Spain are a force to be reckoned with after dusting themselves down from an opening-day defeat by Ireland to record 2-0 victories over Sweden and England. Tidy at the back, Nahikari García poses a real threat in attack.

Norway, too, have got into their stride, sealing top spot in Group A with a 5-0 triumph over Scotland with the goals coming from five different scorers. They also have history on their side ahead of the match at Jessheim's UKI Arena – they have won all three previous meetings with Spain in this tournament, reaching the final on every occasion. For their part, Spain have never lost a last-four fixture. Something has to give.

Norway defeated Spain 2-1 in 2008
Norway defeated Spain 2-1 in 2008©Sportsfile

Previous meetings in this competition
2011 GS: Norway 5-1 Spain
2008 GS: Norway 2-1 Spain
2003 GS: Norway 2-1 Spain
2002 3Q: Norway 2-2 Spain

Past semi-final appearances
2012: Spain 1-0 Portugal
2011: Italy 2-3 Norway
2008: Germany 1-1 Norway (Norway win 4-2 on pens)
2007: England 3-0 Norway
2004: Italy 0-1 Spain
2003: Norway 2-2 Sweden (Norway win 4-2 on pens)

Republic of Ireland v Netherlands (19.00CET) 
Not many predicted that Ireland would make such a big impression on their final tournament debut after being placed in a group with former winners Spain, England and Sweden (Spain coach Jorge Vilda was an exception). Three wins from three have eliminated any notion of complacency, though the Netherlands know better anyway – these sides played out a tough 0-0 draw in April's elite round.

The Dutch advanced as group winners and Ireland as best runners-up, but it is the Irish who are perhaps narrow favourites at the Mjøndalen Stadium. They will have to deal with Vivianne Miedema. The FC Bayern München forward has been troubled by a groin injury in Norway but that did not prevent her laying waste to Scotland in a devastating 45-minute spell on matchday two. And she is getting fitter.

Ireland relax near tournament HQ
Ireland relax near tournament HQ©Sportsfile

Previous meetings in this competition
2014 2Q: Ireland 0-0 Netherlands
2013 2Q: Ireland 2-1 Netherlands
2008 2Q: Ireland 0-2 Netherlands
2007 2Q: Ireland 1-0 Netherlands
2004 1Q: Ireland 0-2 Netherlands

Past semi-final appearances
2010: Netherlands 0-0 England (England won 5-4 on pens)

Follow it all on UEFA.com, on Twitter using #WU19 and, if you are in and around Oslo, come along – under-18s get in for free.