The England Women’s U19s could join a select band on Saturday.
By David Barber
Mo Marley’s England Women’s U19 team will be trying to achieve something very special on Saturday.
They have qualified for their second successive UEFA Championship Final, having beaten Sweden in last year’s showpiece in Belarus, and retaining the trophy against the French in Macedonia will match the achievements of other England teams more than 25 years ago.
The England Under-21 team under Dave Sexton retained their UEFA Championship in 1984. They defeated West Germany 5-4 over two legs to lift the trophy in ’82 and then beat the Spanish 3-0 on aggregate to clinch a repeat two years later.
Our Men’s U18 team (now ‘U19’) was unbeatable in the early 1970s with Bill Shorthouse in charge. We won the European Youth Championship, then simply known as the ‘International Youth Tournament’ before UEFA took it over, in three successive years.
England were victorious in Czechoslovakia in ’71 (3-0 v Portugal), in Spain in ’72 (2-0 v West Germany) and in Italy in ’73 (3-2 v East Germany). Those U18s had also put their name on the trophy in 1963 and 1964. More than 30,000 turned out at Wembley to see the ’63 triumph against a Northern Ireland side with Pat Jennings in goal.
If Mo Marley’s talented side do the business at the weekend, they’ll join those history-makers. It’ll be a fantastic achievement.