Steffi Jones won it all as a player but now heading Germany's organising committee for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, she tells UEFA.com the excitement is still very real.
Article top media content
Steffi Jones was at the heart of Germany's rise to prominence then dominance in recent years, helping them to victory in the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup and three UEFA European Women's Championships in her 14-year, 111-cap career.
After retiring in 2007, she took a role as president of the 2011 World Cup organising committee. Ahead of the tournament, which kicks off on Sunday, the former 1. FFC Frankfurt defender talks to UEFA.com about the finals, Germany's chances, and the anticipated huge crowds.
UEFA.com: The stadiums should be full, at least for Germany's games. Will it be a special challenge for the Germany players, because not even the top players are used to playing in front of huge crowds?
Steffi Jones: When I think about it, it makes me shiver. The first match, which is the opening match [between Germany and Canada], will be sold out in Berlin, and I know from other tournaments that if the stadiums are full, you can't really hear your team-mates telling you things, and that is really unbelievable. It's great.
I think all the teams can look forward to it, because we can ensure that all matches will have at least 8,000 to 10,000 spectators. I think that is a good starting point ... I can say that every match deserves to be seen, and I think we will sell a lot more tickets.
UEFA.com: How do you think the tournament will go?
Jones: During the draw it was interesting to see that every team thought they were in one of the most difficult groups. And I agree, because it will be difficult for these 16 teams. When I'm asked who I see as the favourites I name the first four teams, but then continue with the others because I think every team can beat every other one.
So I'm really looking forward to it. I think it will be a great World Cup. I think we will write our own history, it doesn't matter if it's a World Cup or a EURO, it gives a chance to us, the football family, to write history. And I hope we can do this by having full stadiums and a great atmosphere and by viewing lots of goals and attractive football... That would be nice.
UEFA.com: Germany have won everything there is to win in recent years. Can they maintain that dominance?
Jones: The pressure was always there, I think, and our coaches always manage to keep up motivation, not to lose that hunger. There are players who have been playing successfully over a long period of time. Then you need to find the right mix with new young players and integrate them, letting them play in the team immediately.
You can't really tell that new young players have been brought into the team, and I think that's why we have such strong individual players, but we also have the team spirit, and the coaches manage to have harmony within the team. Every player runs for their team-mate, and the team is always at its best when tournaments are about to start.