England start their Euro 2006 campaign this evening against the Faroe Islands.
England have their sights set on a second successive Finals appearance as they head into the First Round qualifying tournament for the UEFA European Women’s U19 Championship tonight.
With the majority of last season’s squad still eligible at U19 level, coach Mo Marley is in quietly confident mood as she prepares to send her team out in their opening match against the Faroe Isles at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium.
The former England captain said: “We had a very young squad last season and we did brilliantly to reach the finals. Our aim is to get there again and although it’s going to be hard, we have the capability if everybody plays to their potential.
“The experience the players gained in the tournaments we competed in last season, especially Euro finals, will be crucial. The other teams in this first round group won’t have that kind of experience and we’ll be favourites to go through.
“But although our squad is still quite young, it’s important that the players use what they learned from last season to their advantage. We exceeded expectations last time round, now we want to do equally as well if not better.”
In order to reach the second qualifying round Marley’s team must top a group which includes Croatia and Scotland as well as the Faroe Isles, with Scotland meeting Croatia in the second of the opening day’s fixtures.
The England coach admits to not knowing too much about the opposition her team are set to face but said: “Age-level teams change so much from year to year that it’s very difficult to have totally up-to-date information on opponents.
“I’m told, for example, that Scotland have lost 12 or 13 players from last season’s squad because of girls going out of the age bracket. So we’ll assess things during the tournament and aim to get our planning right from match to match.
“But in any case we’ll be focusing more on our own performances and the development of players, which is vital if the girls are going to progress into senior international football.
“Right now though, the only thing the girls are thinking about is this week’s tournament. The aim for the season is to get to the finals again, but first things first and we’ll have to be totally focused to get through to the next round.”
Danielle Bird (Bristol Academy), Sophie Bradley (Nottingham Forest), Jessica Clarke (Leeds United), Kyle Davies (Fulham), Gemma Davison (Arsenal), Jayne Eadie (Everton), Michelle Evans (Everton), Rebecca Hall (Wolves), Danielle Hill (Everton), Nicola Hobbs (Lincoln City), Bonnie Horwood (Fulham), Stephanie Houghton (Sunderland), Chantelle Parry (Everton), Lianne Sanderson (Arsenal), Heather Scheuber (Birmingham City), Jill Scott (Sunderland), Dunia Susi (Fulham), Fern Whelan (Everton).
Tuesday 27 September 2005 – Burton Albion FC
Scotland v Croatia 2.30pm
England v Faroe Islands 6.30pm
Thursday 29 September 2005 – AFC Telford
Faroe Islands v Scotland 2.30pm
England v Croatia 6.30pm
Saturday 2 October 2004
Scotland v England 3.00pm – Burton Albion FC
Croatia v Faroe Islands 3.00pm – Tamworth FC