Neighbors to battle for the final
Swedish forward Fridolina Rolfö (L) tries to control the ball while being challenged by Spain’s Gema Gili during the two teams’ Group B game in Antalya. The two teams may meet again in the final on July 14 in Antalya. AA photo
The finalists for the UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship are yet unknown but it is certain that it will be an Iberian vs. Scandinavian battle.
Sweden will take on Denmark, while Portugal will meet Spain in the two semifinals tonight in Antalya.
The four teams have made their way out of the groups last week.
Denmark won all its games in the group stage, beating Turkey, Romania and Portugal, but forward Christina Bovbjerg believes that the semifinal match will not be an easy game.
“Sweden are a very strong team and they are also physical so we must defend well in order to overcome them,” she was quoted as saying on the UEFA website. “We are concentrating on their whole team, we know they have very good players in every position so there is not one individual we are looking at. We will have to be at our best to beat them.”
Denmark won all its matches 1-0 but the team is happy with its short and sharp passing play.
“We are enjoying playing good football,” she said. “We enjoy having the ball and playing our way. It’s a way of playing that works for us.”
Sweden is another strong team, and finished the Group B behind Spain only on inferior goal difference. The team beat England 1-0 and Serbia 5-1, before drawing Spain in a goalless stalemate.
Center back Jennie Nordin admits not knowing much about the Danish side, but says she relishes the chance to renew the rivalry.
“I don’t really know much about this Denmark side, but I hope it’s going to be a pretty physical game,” she said, relishing the physical side to the match. “The rivalry’s strong, of course. We’re neighboring countries and whenever you play one of your neighbors you always want to win, so we’ll be trying to do just that.”
Unlike the Group B, goals were not too much in the Group A games, with just six goals in six matches. Portugal managed to advance after getting one win and one draw from three matches, but comes to the game as the underdog. A Spanish side who has scored seven, and has allowed none, is brimming with confidence ahead of the game.
“So far all we know [about the Portuguese team] is what we saw for ourselves in [a 1-0 defeat by Denmark] but we got an idea of what their strengths are,” Atletico Madrid midfielder Nagore Calderón said. “They’ve got some quick players and a hard-working midfield, though we thought we saw some weaknesses at the back which we’ll try to exploit.”
Spain hopes that the team can go all the way in Antalya – following in the footsteps of their elder brothers, who recently claimed the European title in UEFA Euro 2012.
“We all hope [we can win the title,” Levante’s Alexia Putellas said. “We’re all really pleased that our semifinal is going to be televised back home. We just hope everyone enjoys our football and if we can come away with the trophy that would be the icing on the cake.”