WU19 EURO: Group A preview

France are favourites, Sweden a threat while Israel and Denmark have team spirit. The Group A coaches speak ahead of Wednesday's WU19 EURO kick-off.

Schedule (KO CET, local time is one hour ahead)
15 July: France v Denmark (Netanya, 18.30), Israel v Sweden (Lod, 19.10)
18 July: Sweden v Denmark (Rishon Le-zion, 18.30), Israel v France (Netanya, 20.15)
21 July: Denmark v Israel (Lod, 18.40), Sweden v France (Netanya, 18.40)

Get the lowdown on all four teams

ISRAEL
Coach Guy Azouri: "Our aim is to be competitive, to give teams a hard time and challenge. If this tournament was two years ago we would have lost big but we have made big progress since and I hope we can see that progress. We lost 8-0 to Sweden two years ago. We know Sweden, France and Denmark are great teams but we need to challenge them. I don't like to lose but you must be realistic and know who you are and where you are. You must never give up, though."

Did you know?
Israel warmed up for their finals bow in innovative fashion, assembling a squad of 21 to live at an academy for five days a week and entering a team in the national women's premier league. They finished fourth out of nine in the regular season.

FRANCE
Coach Gilles Eyquem: "It's a very interesting group, with common qualities in a lot of the teams and do I think we can win? Of course I do. We can win the group and win the tournament; we're very well prepared but it will be complex. The girls have worked very hard, but there's a great sense of pride in women's football in France, and we want to use that to our advantage. There's great interest in our younger women's teams too, including our Bleuettes."

2013: France lift third U19 title
2013: France lift third U19 title

Did you know?
France were the only side in qualifying not to concede a single goal. Only one team has ever lifted the title without conceding a single goal: England in 2009.

DENMARK
Coach Søren Randa-Boldt: "We don't have big stars but we have a great team spirit; we've got a lot of self-belief. This team is something very special. There are no individuals, they work amazingly well as a team. People always talk about team spirit, but you really don't see the kind of togetherness they have very often. We see ourselves as underdogs. I think France are the favourites in our group, then Sweden, followed by us. Sweden will be an interesting side, they're extremely well organised and kind of similar to us."

Did you know?
Drafted into the team in April, 17-year-old Fortuna Hjørring forward Signe Bruun scored in all three elite round games, including the only goal of the last-day decider against holders the Netherlands. Denmark had finished bottom of their elite round group in 2014.

SWEDEN
Coach Calle Barrling: "This is the youngest squad we've ever had, with more 18-year-olds than 19-year-olds. We are looking more at their talent and finding quick, explosive players – we think we need them for the future. Our aim is always to play as many international games as possible and if we reach the semi-finals then we can continue, playing at the World Cup and keeping the team together for another year. It is all about experience."

2012: Sweden keep cool to end wait in Antalya heat
2012: Sweden keep cool to end wait in Antalya heat

Did you know?
Linköpings FC forward Stina Blackstenius is the all-time leading scorer in WU19 EURO qualifying with 26 goals, including 14 (equalling the record for a single campaign) this time around.

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