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Europe's Women's World Cup hopefuls

Published: Wednesday 3 December 2014, 14.00CET
We profile Europe's FIFA Women's World Cup contenders England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland ahead of the draw.
by Paul Saffer
Europe's Women's World Cup hopefuls
The Netherlands celebrate their play-off defeat of Italy ©AFP
Published: Wednesday 3 December 2014, 14.00CET

Europe's Women's World Cup hopefuls

We profile Europe's FIFA Women's World Cup contenders England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland ahead of the draw.

The 24-team lineup for the FIFA Women's World Cup was confirmed on Tuesday when Ecuador won a dramatic CONMEBOL-CONCACAF play-off against Trinidad and Tobago, and Europe's eight contenders are getting set for Saturday's draw.

In the expanded 24-nation finals, Europe has been given three of the eight extra berths. Qualifying group winners England, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland were joined last week by the Netherlands, who came through two rounds of play-offs involving the top four runners-up.

With Germany and Norway hoping to add to previous World Cup wins and the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland making debuts, we look at the eight European sides competing in Canada next summer.

In the draw
UEFA: England, France, Germany, Netherlands*, Norway, Spain*, Sweden, Switzerland*
AFC: Australia, China, Japan (holders), South Korea, Thailand*
CAF: Cameroon,*, Ivory Coast*, Nigeria
CONCACAF: Canada (hosts), Costa Rica*, Mexico, United States
CONMEBOL: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador*
OFC: New Zealand

*Debut

Finals draw: 18.05CET, Saturday, Ottowa (seedings confirmed prior to draw)
Finals: 6 June–5 July, Canada

Past World Cup finals (European teams in bold)
2011: Japan 2-2 United States (aet, 3-1 pens); Frankfurt, Germany
2007: Germany 2-0 Brazil; Shanghai, China
2003: Germany 1-0 Sweden (aet, golden goal); Carson, United States
1999: United States 0-0 China (aet, 5-4 pens); Pasadena, United States
1995: Norway 2-0 Germany; Stockholm, Sweden
1991: United States 2-1 Norway; Guangzhou, China

Powell on 15-year reign

EUROPE'S CONTENDERS
England

Previous finals appearances: 3
Best result: Quarter-finals (1995, 2007, 2011)
Qualifying record: W10 D0 L0 F52 A1 (Group 6 winners)
Top scorer:
Eniola Aluko 13

• England played their first four qualifiers under caretaker coach Brent Hills before Mark Sampson's appointment last December.
• This will be England's first major final tournament without Hope Powell as player or (since 1997) coach.
• On 23 November a record crowd of more than 45,000 saw England lose 3-0 to Germany at Wembley.

©Getty Images

France won the 2014 Cyprus Cup

France
Previous finals appearances: 2
Best result: Fourth place (2011)
Qualifying record: W10 D0 L0 F54 A3 (Group 7 winners)
Top scorer: 
Gaëtane Thiney 13

• France matched their run to the 2011 World Cup semi-finals by reaching the same stage at the 2012 Olympics.
• Philippe Bergerôo became coach after UEFA Women's EURO 2013 and has a 100% competitive record.
• In 2014 they have won the Cyprus Women's Cup and beaten Germany and Brazil in friendlies.

Silvia Neid on Germany's EURO dominance

Germany
Previous finals appearances: 6
Best result: Winners (2003, 2007)
Qualifying record: W10 D0 L0 F62 A4 (Group 1 winners)
Top scorer:
Anja Mittag 11

• Germany are aiming to become the first three-time world champions having clinched a sixth straight European title last year.
• Their hat-trick bid as hosts in 2011 was ended by Japan in the quarter-finals after extra time.
• Germany lifted the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada earlier this year.

©womensports.gr

Qualifying top scorer Vivianne Miedema

Netherlands
Previous finals appearances: 0
Qualifying record: W8 D1 L1 F43 A6 (Group 5 runners-up)
Play-offs:
Scotland 2-1a, 2-0h (agg 4-1), Italy 1-1h, 2-1a (agg 3-2)
Top scorer:
Vivianne Miedema 16

• Miedema, 18, was also top scorer in the Netherlands' 2014 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship win.
• The first leg of their play-off final with Italy was watched by a Dutch women's record crowd of 13,100 in The Hague.
• The Netherlands had never qualified for a major finals before 2009, when they got to the UEFA Women's EURO semis.

Norway
Previous finals appearances: 6
Best result: Winners (1995)
Qualifying record: W9 D0 L1 F41 A5 (Group 5 winners)
Top scorer:
Caroline Graham Hansen 8

• Coach Even Pellerud has previously led Norway in two World Cups: making it to the 1991 final and winning four years later in Sweden.
• Their only qualifying loss was 2-0 at home to the Netherlands in their last game with first place sealed.
• After Pellerud's return they marched to the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 final, also in Sweden.

©Selene Scarsi

Spain topped Italy in their group

Spain
Previous finals appearances: 0
Qualifying record: W9 D1 L0 F42 A2 (Group 2 winners)
Top scorer: 
Natalia 12

• Spain confirmed their form in reaching the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 quarter-finals by qualifying for a first World Cup.
• Ignacio Quereda will be the longest-serving coach in Canada having been in charge since 1988 (before the first World Cup).
• Several of Quereda's current squad were guided to victory by him at the 2004 European WU19 Championship.

Sweden's EURO legacy

Sweden
Previous finals appearances: 6
Best result: Runners-up (2003)
Qualifying record: W10 D0 L0 F32 A1 (Group 4 winners)
Top scorer:
Lotta Schelin 12

• Sweden were the best European performers in 2011, beating France for third place.
• In October's 2-1 loss in Germany, Schelin scored her 73rd Sweden goal to break Hanna Ljungberg's record, and Therese Sjögran became only the third European to earn 200 caps.
• Sweden are one of seven World Cup ever-presents along with Germany, Norway, Brazil, Japan, Nigeria and the United States.

©Keystone

Switzerland have made their first finals

Switzerland
Previous finals appearances: 0
Qualifying record: W9 D1 L0 F53 A1 (Group 3 winners)
Top scorer: 
Lara Dickenmann 11

• Switzerland were the first European side to qualify on 14 June, progressing to their maiden senior final tournament.
•  They had the joint-biggest winning margin in their group of nine points (with France).
• Coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg played for Germany in their 1995 World Cup final defeat by Norway.

Last updated: 04/06/15 3.35CET

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