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How Austria's No1 picked up the gauntlet(s)

"I am glad I put my hand up," Carolin Grössinger told UEFA.com, the Austria No1 pleased that volunteering to play in goal as a six-year-old has led her to the U19 finals and a career in Germany.

Carolin Grössinger chills out in sunny Senec
Carolin Grössinger chills out in sunny Senec ©Sportsfile

"It all started when my very first football coach, at school, asked who wanted to go in goal," ambitious Austria keeper Carolin Grössinger tells UEFA.com, the 19-year-old smiling as she reflects on her career to date. "Of course I was naive, and didn't know what it would mean, but I'm doing what I love, so I am glad I put my hand up."

The National Centre for Women's Football Academy graduate has just signed terms with Bayer Leverkusen, a move which Grössinger says is essential for her development, as well as her career. "In 2014, I was with the Austria at the Under-17 EURO and we were the first women's team from our country to be at a tournament," she remembers. "It really shows how hard work pays off, to be here in Slovakia now, but it also shows how women's football in Austria is improving.

"All the national teams at U17 and U19 level are based at the academy, with the national coaches. The same systems and formations are used at the academy and when we play international games. It's quite similar to the model in the Netherlands, which has worked well for them."

Grössinger with Austria's U17s in 2013
Grössinger with Austria's U17s in 2013©Sportsfile

While it is a great start for many young players, academy life is finite and Grössinger accepts that a move abroad is the next step. "When you compare Austria and Germany in terms of women's football, they are different worlds," she says. "If you have the talent, you go abroad. The academy doesn't have a team in a domestic league – they don't play competitively often enough."

Austria had a disappointing start when Switzerland won their opening Group B match 4-0 on Tuesday, yet Irene Furhmann's troops are well-drilled for their next game against Spain.

"We're feeling confident now, having analysed our own performance, as well as Spain," Grössinger says. "The preparation has focused on Spain's forwards and I know I'll be pretty busy. The opening game was disappointing, but it's done now and we've forgotten about it. We had a really successful elite round, so we want to bring that quality to this final tournament."