EURO 2017: Quotes from the Female Coaches in action today
Today Germany and Sweden will renew their rivalry in UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 Group B, with Italy and Russia hoping to better the 2016 Olympic finalists:
Germany – Steffi Jones
After 22 years and six titles in a row, can Germany’s run go on under new coach Steffi Jones, who took over from Silvia Neid following the 2016 Olympic gold? Since Rio, the likes of Melanie Behringer, Annike Krahn and Saskia Bartusiak have retired from the team while Jones’s finals squad is without injured Alex Popp and Simone Laudehr. However, Germany’s depth of resources is unmatched, with 2013 final hero Anja Mittag aiming for her fourth Women’s EURO title (the first was alongside Jones) while Mandy Islacker, Marozsán, Leonie Maier, Isabel Kerschowski and Almuth Schult are just a few of the other world-class names included. Midfielder Lena Goessling is also included after a long spell out with injury.
“The players have taken everything on board, although there isn’t an established system they’re being forced to play. We want to stay versatile and be able to adjust our system according to each opponent and each match.”
Sweden – Pia Sundhage
Having been pipped to Olympic gold by Germany in 2016, Sweden have a chance to avenge that loss as they begin their last tournament under Pia Sundhage, the winning penalty scorer against England in the first final of 1984. Always strong contenders, they have had to deal with the injury loss of Sofia Jakobsson as well as Emilia Appelqvist but otherwise all other 16 Olympic silver-medallists – including cap centurions Hedvig Lindahl, Nilla Fischer, Lisa Dahlqvist, Schelin and Caroline Seger – are present and correct.
“Germany have got to lose sometime. We’re well prepared and have thought about how we can beat the Germans. We’re due a win against them and they’re due a loss.”
Russia – Elena Fomina
Russia’s hopes of a first knockout appearance four years ago were dashed by the drawing of lots; now they have to try and get out of a group led by Germany, who beat them 2-0 and 4-0 in qualifying. There is hope with the return to form of Elena Danilova, hugely prolific as a youth player but a forward who has had her fair share of injuries. She has been in the goals for Ryazan and got a hat-trick in last month’s 5-2 friendly defeat of Serbia.
“Sweden and Germany were the finalists at the Olympic Games. We know that they are among the best in the world, but if you don’t want to play against them, why bother playing? We’ve got to relish testing ourselves against such opponents.”