Meet the Women’s EURO finalists: Pot 2

Former champions Norway and Sweden are joined by rising force Spain and debutants Switzerland in Pot 2 for Tuesday’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 draw. We profile the quartet.

  • Pots in full (draw streamed live at 17:30CET on Tuesday from Rotterdam)

Pot 1: Netherlands (hosts, in Group A), Germany (holders), France, England
Pot 2:
Norway, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland
Pot 3:
Italy, Iceland, Scotland, Denmark
Pot 4:
Austria, Belgium, Russia, Portugal

  • Pot 2 profiles

©FFK Press/Sergey Nadtochey

Norway
2013: Runners-up
EURO best: Winners (1987, 1993)
How they qualified: Group 8 winners, W7 D1 L0 F29 A2 P22
Coach: vacant
One to watch: Ada Hegerberg (forward, Lyon)

What to watch out for: In men’s football they talk of Germany as a ‘tournament team’ but in the female game Norway have a claim to that title. They have exceeded expectations at the last three EUROs, getting to two finals and the 2009 last four, despite not possessing a squad to match their 1995 world champions or 2000 Olympic gold medallists.

Just like four years ago, they have qualified only to then change coach – this time Roger Finjord has departed, the assistant to Even Pellerud up until summer 2015 citing the commute to Oslo from his home in northern Norway as the cause. Results had also been mixed but Finjord’s successor will inherit an exciting forward line of UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe 2015/16 Hegerberg, fit-again Caroline Graham Hansen and a re-inspired Isabell Herlovsen.

©Boris Kharchenko

Sweden
2013:
Semi-finals
EURO best: Winners (1984)
How they qualified: Group 4 winners, W7 D0 L1 F22 A3 P21
Coach: Pia Sundhage
One to watch: Lotta Schelin (forward, Rosengård)

What to watch out for: The Swedes are often polar opposites to Norway, tipped heavily before a tournament only to fall short (hence surprise losses to their neighbours in the 2005 semis and 2009 quarters). But following a 2011 World Cup bronze, they have found a new toughness since Sundhage returned from the United States to take charge prior to the 2013 finals on home soil.

Only an epic 1-0 semi-final defeat by Germany denied them a dream decider against Norway, and Sweden took a further step forward when they ground down both the US and Brazil to make the 2016 Olympic final. Though Germany took gold, Sweden had shown their ability to steer a knockout course, though losing their last qualifier in Denmark cost them top seeding in the EURO draw.

©Getty Images

Spain
2013: Quarter-finals
EURO best: Semi-finals (1997)
How they qualified: Group 2 winners, W8 D0 L0 F39 A2 P24
Coach:
Jorge Vilda
One to watch: Verónica Boquete (forward, Paris Saint-Germain)

What to watch out for: Having ended a 16-year finals absence in 2013 and then made it to the World Cup, Spain were finally fulfilling the promise that perennial success at youth level had hinted at. The coach at the helm for several of those junior victories, Vilda subsequently took over after the Spaniards’ early World Cup exit with the task of establishing Spain firmly in the top tier.

Their core of players from Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, plus Paris duo Boquete and Irene Paredes, have the ability to make the breakthrough, and performances like the 3-2 triumph over England in the 2013 finals show the capability of a side gaining in experience.

©Getty Images

Switzerland
2013: Fourth in qualifying group
EURO best: First qualification
How they qualified: Group 6 winners, W8 D9 L0 F34 A3 P25
Coach:
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg
One to watch: Ramona Bachmann (forward, Wolfsburg)

What to watch out for: Like Spain, Switzerland have begun to turn youth-finals potency into senior success. Their major step forward came with reaching the last World Cup, comfortably seeing off Iceland and Denmark to book a debut final tournament, where a 10-1 thrashing of Ecuador took them into the last 16.

They were even more convincing in qualifying for their first European finals, with Italy (and everyone else, in fact) beaten home and away. Former Germany player Voss-Tecklenburg has enabled a team with a talented attack including Bachmann, Lara Dickenmann and Ana-Maria Crnogorčević to realise their potential.

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