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European eight ready for World Cup kick-off

Published: Friday 5 June 2015, 9.07CET
As the FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off in Canada, we look at Europe's teams: England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
by Paul Saffer
European eight ready for World Cup kick-off
Hosts Canada warmed up last Friday by beating England 1-0 ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 5 June 2015, 9.07CET

European eight ready for World Cup kick-off

As the FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off in Canada, we look at Europe's teams: England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

The FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off on Saturday in Canada with an enlarged European contingent of eight taking part in the first 24-team finals. UEFA.com looks at the continent's contenders.

Full fixtures
European squad details
• The top two teams in each group plus the four best third-placed sides advance to the knockout round of 16.
• The three European teams that progress furthest (other than ineligible England) will qualify for the 2016 Olympic tournament in Brazil.
• If needed, play-offs or a mini-tournament to decide Europe's Olympic entry will be held provisionally in February/March 2016.

GROUP A: Canada (hosts), China, New Zealand, Netherlands

©Getty Images

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)
2015 results:
Thailand (h) 7-0, Australia (Cyprus Cup) 0-1, Finland (Cyprus Cup) 0-0, England (Cyprus Cup) 1-1, Scotland (Cyprus Cup 7th place) 1-3, Iceland (a) 1-2, Norway (a) 3-2, Estonia (h) 7-0, Sweden (Toronto) 1-2
Qualifying top scorer:
Vivianne Miedema 16

• Miedema is struggling with a foot injury, one of several fitness concerns in the squad.
• The Netherlands had never qualified for a major finals before 2009, when they got to the UEFA Women's EURO semis.
• The Netherlands will stage UEFA Women's EURO 2017. Qualifying begins in September.

Also watch out for ...
• Hosts Canada's challenge under English coach John Herdman is led by Christine Sinclair, who turns 32 next Friday and has amassed 223 caps and scored 153 goals.

GROUP B: Germany, Ivory Coast, Norway, Thailand

©Getty Images

Germany
Previous finals appearances: 6
Best result: Winners (2003, 2007)
Qualifying record: W10 D0 L0 F62 A4 (Group 1 winners)
2015 results:
Sweden (Algarve Cup) 2-4, China (Algarve Cup) 2-0, Brazil (Algarve Cup) 3-1, Sweden (Algarve Cup third place) 2-1, Brazil (h) 4-0, Switzerland (h) 3-1
Qualifying top scorer:
Anja Mittag 11

• Their bid for a third straight title as hosts in 2011 was ended by Japan in the quarter-finals after extra time.
• The injured Nadine Kessler and pregnant Fatmire Alushi miss the finals.
• Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer (a survivor from the victorious 2007 squad along with Annike Krahn, Saskia Bartusiak, Anja Mittag, Melanie Behringer, Simone Laudehr and Babett Peter) will retire after this tournament.

©Sportsfile

Caroline Graham Hansen misses the finals

Norway
Previous finals appearances: 6
Best result: Winners (1995)
Qualifying record: W9 D0 L1 F41 A5 (Group 5 winners)
2015 results:
United States (Algarve Cup) 1-2, Iceland (Algarve Cup) 1-0, Switzerland (Algarve Cup) 2-2, Denmark (Algarve Cup 5th place) 5-2, Netherlands (a) 2-3, Belgium (a) 2-3, Finland (h) 2-0
Top scorer:
Caroline Graham Hansen 8

• Hansen will sit out the tournament with a long-standing knee problem.
• In his first spell in charge, coach Even Pellerud guided Norway to the 1991 final and victory four years later.
• Their only qualifying loss was 2-0 at home to the Netherlands in their last game, with first place already sealed.

Also watch out for ...
Ivory Coast and Thailand are both making their finals debuts.

GROUP C: Japan (holders), Switzerland, Cameroon, Ecuador

©Keystone

Switzerland
Previous finals appearances: 0
Qualifying record: W9 D1 L0 F53 A1 (Group 3 winners)
2015 results:
Portugal (a) 1-2, Portugal (a) 0-1, Iceland (Algarve Cup) 2-0, United States (Algarve Cup) 0-3, Norway (Algarve Cup) 2-2, Brazil (Algarve Cup 7th place) 1-5, Sweden (a) 3-1, Germany (a) 1-3
Qualifying top scorer: 
Lara Dickenmann 11

• Switzerland were the first European side to qualify on 14 June, proceeding 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.

Also watch out for ...
Japan travel to Canada with 14 of the squad that triumphed in 2011.

GROUP D: United States, Australia, Sweden, Nigeria

©Getty Images

Sweden
Previous finals appearances: 6
Best result: Runners-up (2003)
Qualifying record: W10 D0 L0 F32 A1 (Group 4 winners)
2015 results:
Finland (a) 3-0, Germany (Algarve Cup) 4-2, Brazil (Algarve Cup) 2-0, China (Algarve Cup) 3-0, Germany (Algarve Cup third place) 1-2, Switzerland (h) 3-1, Denmark (h) 3-3, Netherlands (Toronto) 2-1
Qualifying top scorer:
Lotta Schelin 12

• Sweden were the best European performers in 2011, beating France for third place.
• Pia Sundhage will coach Sweden against the team she steered to the 2011 final and two Olympic golds: the US.
• Sweden are one of seven World Cup ever-presents along with Nigeria, the US, Germany, Norway, Brazil and Japan.

Also watch out for ...
United States forward Alex Morgan is a doubt with a knee complaint but even without her the stellar squad includes 182-goal all-time leading international scorer Abby Wambach.

GROUP E: Brazil, South Korea, Spain, Costa Rica

©Selene Scarsi

Spain
Previous finals appearances: 0
Qualifying record: W9 D1 L0 F42 A2 (Group 2 winners)
2015 results:
Austria (h) 2-2, Belgium (h) 2-1, New Zealand (h) 0-0, Republic of Ireland (h) 1-0
Qualifying top scorer: 
Natalia 12

• Spain confirmed their form in reaching the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 quarter-finals by getting to a first World Cup.
• Ignacio Quereda will be the longest-serving coach in Canada having occupied the helm since 1988 (before the first World Cup).
• Several of Quereda's current squad were directed to victory by him at the 2004 European Women's U19 Championship.

Also watch out for ...
Brazil's attack is, as ever, headed by Marta while South Korea's Chelsea LFC playmaker Ji So-Yun was voted 2014 player of the year in England.

GROUP F: France, England, Colombia, Mexico

©Getty Images

France
Previous finals appearances: 2
Best result: Fourth place (2011)
Qualifying record: W10 D0 L0 F54 A3 (Group 7 winners)
2015 results:
United States (h) 2-0, Portugal (Algarve Cup) 1-0, Denmark (Algarve Cup) 4-1, Japan (Algarve Cup) 3-1, United States (Algarve Cup final) 0-2, Russia (h) 2-1, Scotland (h) 1-0
Qualifying top scorer: 
Gaëtane Thiney 13

• France matched their run to the 2011 World Cup semi-finals by contesting the same stage at the 2012 Olympics.
• Philippe Bergerôo became coach after UEFA Women's EURO 2013 and has a 100% competitive record.
France will hold the 2019 finals.

©Getty Images

England
Previous finals appearances: 3
Best result: Quarter-finals (1995, 2007, 2011)
Qualifying record: W10 D0 L0 F52 A1 (Group 6 winners)
2015 results:
United States (h) 0-1, Finland (Cyprus Cup) 3-1, Australia (Cyprus Cup) 3-0, Netherlands (Cyprus Cup) 1-1, Canada (Cyprus Cup final) 1-0, China (h) 2-1, Canada (a) 0-1
Qualifying 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 tournament without Hope Powell as player or (since 1997) coach.
• England have not overcome opening opponents France in 16 games since November 1974.

Also watch out for ...
Mexico were third in the Cyprus Cup after beating Italy and drew with England in the 2011 finals.

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

Last updated: 05/06/15 17.06CET

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