With four wins and a draw in five matches and a goals column of 12 for, 0 against, England swept all before them and ran out worthy winners of the UEFA U-19 Women's European Championship in Belarus. Two goals in the space of four minutes midway through the first half from Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs was enough to see off Sweden in the final and secure the country's first ever title for a women's youth team.
England looked like a very organised outfit right from the start of the tournament, making short work of Iceland (4-0) and their eventual final opponents Sweden (3-0) in the group stage, as well as holding Norway to a goalless draw. Michelle Hinnigan and her team-mates then swept past Switzerland 3-0 to earn a crack at the title.
Germany could not get beyond the group stage, despite having won a record number of titles at this level. After beating France (2-1) and the host nation, Germany lost 3-0 to Switzerland and due to a combination of other results lost out on a place in the last four due to inferior head-to-head results. This also put an end to five consecutive semi-final appearances for the Germans, and their 9-0 win over Belarus - a tournament record - was scant consolation.
The hosts also fell at the first hurdle in Group A after three defeats and a goal difference of -15, making them the only team not to record a single point in the tournament. Yet for Belarus it was more important that the event as a whole was a success, and a record number of spectators for a women's U-19 final phase was proof of that.
Group B saw England (7 points) and Sweden (6) cruise through at the expense of Norway (2) and Iceland (1), the latter nevertheless recording their first ever point after three defeats at the tournament two years ago. The fact that Norway failed to progress beyond the group stages was as unexpected as Germany's shock exit, after Jarl Torske's charges had made the semis in 2007 and the final last year.
When Les Bleuettes took a 2-1 lead in the 68th minute thanks to Charlene Sasso, they seemed to be heading for the final against England, but the Swedes came from behind to secure the win, as they had done in both their second and third group matches. Sofia Jakobsson equalised four minutes before the end then went on to make it a hat-trick with two goals more in extra time. The final score ended 5-2 in favour of the Scandinavians, who made it through to their first women's U-19 final since winning the tournament in 1999.
There would be no stopping England in their march to the title, however. "It's an incredible feeling. Everyone worked so hard for his, but I never thought that an England team would actually achieve it," said an ecstatic Mo Marley after her team's 2-0 win. "It's amazing, and hopefully it'll spur us on in the future."
"Congratulations to England - they didn't just play well today but throughout the entire tournament, not even conceding a goal," said Marley's opposite number Calle Barrling, who was gracious in defeat. "We were beaten by a better team."
As well as a piece of silverware, there were also the five European spots for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2010 in Germany up for grabs. The host nation qualify automatically and will be joined by the four semi-finalists - England, France, Sweden and Switzerland.
Along with those five, next year's tournament will see three teams from Asia, two from Africa, three from North and Central America and the Caribbean, two from South American and one from Oceania in the 16-country field.