England are set to face Sweden in the build up to the summer's European Championship.
Sweden v England
18 May 2005
After reaching July’s UEFA European Under-19 Women’s Championship finals through a thrilling qualifying tournament success in Italy, England are set to begin their build-up to the big event in Hungary with a tough friendly against Sweden.
Mo Marley’s youngsters travel to Guldkroksvallen for their meeting with the Swedes on Wednesday 18 May. And after seeing her team lose 3-2 to the same opponents at Solihull FC last year, coach Marley is keen to see how they fare this time round.
"Sweden are one of the top nations," noted Marley, "and we were a bit in awe of them at first when we played them last time. But after going three goals behind we came back well and in the end we only lost 3-2.
"We had a very young team on that occasion and, encouragingly for us, the core of that line-up is still available to us. So with an extra 12 months experience behind them it will be very interesting to see how we do this year.
"It will certainly be good preparation for the Euro finals, which we are really looking forward to after coming through the qualifying tournament. That was a nail-biting experience, but it should stand the girls in good stead when we get to Hungary."
In the qualifying tournament England beat Moldova 4-0 but then lost to hosts Italy 2-1 and went into their last game against Norway needing to win by at least two goals – which is exactly what they did, a 2-0 victory booking their place in the finals.
Marley said: "If we had won by more goals against Moldova, which we should have done after playing really well, it would have been easier for us. We then felt we could beat Italy but unfortunately the girls didn’t prepare themselves mentally for the game.
"When we spoke later they accepted that that’s what had happened, but our last minute goal in that game gave us a lifeline and they certainly learned their lesson in terms of preparation when we met Norway.
"The response was unbelievable – we started the game really strongly, went one up in the first five minutes and got our second goal after half an hour. The girls then showed real character to defend their lead and beat a very good team.
"We went through with Norway to the finals, which should be very exciting and very close too. With high profile teams like Italy, Spain and Sweden knocked out it will be quite an open tournament and hopefully we can get a good group draw."
England missed out on reaching the finals tournament last year, but in the two previous years Marley’s team not only got to the finals but also went right through to the last four before being knocked out.
The group draw for this year’s finals is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 25 May and the eight-nation tournament is set to be staged in Hungary between Sunday 17 and Sunday 31 July.
England squad: Carly Telford (Sunderland), Danielle Hill (Everton), Fern Whelan (Liverpool), Michelle Evans (Everton), Sophie Clough (Stockport County), Kylie Davies (Fulham), Nicole Emmanuel (Leeds United), Heather Scheuber (Birmingham City), Katie Holtham (Bristol Rovers), Amy Kane(Everton), Danielle Bird (Fulham) Jill Scott (Sunderland), Rachel Williams (Leicester City), Chantelle Parry, (Everton), Lianne Sanderson (Arsenal), Stephanie Houghton (Sunderland), Becky Hall (Wolves), Gemma Davison (Arsenal).