Last chance saloon
Saturday, 31 March, 2012
Alex Greenwood is determined to qualify for Euro Finals.
UEFA European Women’s U19 Championship
Second Qualifying Round
31 March – 5 April 2012
Blundell Park, Sincil Bank, Glanford Park, Grange Lane
ENGLAND, Austria, Finland, Wales
Tickets are priced £3 for adults, £1 for concessions
Such is the success that has been enjoyed by the England Women’s U19 team in recent years, it seems remarkable that one player currently enjoying her second season at this level might not experience a European Finals tournament.
Mo Marley led the U19s to their first-ever European title in 2009, while they were runners-up in both 2007 and 2010. Eight of the squad from 2007 have now gone on to earn almost 100 senior team caps between them and their European Finals experience has been crucial to their development.
One player hoping to follow that path is left-back Alex Greenwood. She is a part of Marley’s squad who will face Finland at Glanford Park on Saturday in their opening game of the final qualification round for this season’s Euros.
Greenwood played, and scored, at this stage of last season’s competition, although England narrowly failed to qualify from their group and the Everton youngster is keen to avoid a similar scenario this season.
“I haven’t experienced a Finals tournament yet and this is my last chance to do so, other than at senior level, so I’m desperate to get there,” she said. “Our aim is to qualify and we will be going all out to do just that.”
After Finland, England take on Wales at Sincil Bank on Monday and Austria at Blundell Park on Thursday, with only the top-placed nation making it through to the Finals, which are being held in Turkey in the summer.
“I can’t wait for it,” said Greenwood. “We have been together as a squad for a long time now and although we have played a few games already this season these are the games we all want to play in.
“And it is brilliant to be at home, too. The only other times we have played at home have been in friendlies, so to play in qualifiers in big stadiums is something I’m really looking forward to."
Greenwood is one of five current squad members who played U19 football last year and she hopes she can make the most of her experiences in the week ahead.
“I think we have all benefitted from playing last year,” she said. “We now know what it’s like to come up against some of the best teams in Europe and we also know what it feels like to not qualify from the group. Hopefully we can put those experiences to good use this week.”
You can read more from Alex in the official tournament programme, available at each game
England squad in full
Mary Earps (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Megan Walsh (Aston Villa)
Lara Fay (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Everton), Annabel Johnson* (Leicester City), Meaghan Sargeant (Lincoln Ladies)
Rebecca Anderson (Nottingham Forest), Felicity Gibbons (Charlton Athletic), Elizabeth Ince (Blackburn Rovers), Kasia Lipka** (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Jasmine Matthews (Bristol Academy), Sherry McCue (Aston Villa)
Danielle Carter (Arsenal), Bethany England (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Melissa Lawley (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Everton), Keira Ramshaw (Sunderland), Jessica Sigsworth (Doncaster Rovers)
* replaced Sophie Gwilliam of Chelsea
** replaced Ellie Bailes of Charlton Athletic