Up-and-coming talent battling it out for three Uruguay berths
Eight European teams fight for three FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup spots
UEFA U-17 Women’s Championship runs from 9-21 May in Lithuania
Germany the defending champions
Uruguay awaits! From 9-21 May, eight national teams will face off for the continental crown at the UEFA U-17 Women’s Championship in Lithuania. The tournament also serves as qualifying for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2018. The competitors are divided into groups of four, with the top two from each going through to the semi-finals.
When: 9–21 May 2018
Who: Lithuania (hosts), Germany (defending champions), Finland, the Netherlands (Group A); Poland, Spain, Italy, England (Group B)
Fixtures: Group stage – 9, 12 and 15 May; semi-finals – 18 May; final and Uruguay 2018 play-off – 21 May
What’s at stake: Three places at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup
How: One place each for the two finalists plus one for the winner of the play-off between the two beaten semi-finalists
The favourites The overwhelming favourites are Germany, having played ten U-17 Women’s Championship finals and won six of them, which therefore makes them the most successful team in the history of the competition, first held in 2008. Coach Anouschka Bernhard’s team made the final in 2017 where they defeated Spain on penalties to retain the trophy that they had won the previous year.
"In our first training sessions, we followed on from the work from our friendly against Czech Republic. Our focus is now on the group stage and our first opponents, Finland," said Bernhard on the German association’s website. "It will be an exciting three-way battle for the two semi-final spots. The three of us have very different systems: the Netherlands play 4-3-3, while Finland prefer to keep possession wherever possible and we have three at the back. It will be fun to see how these three formations clash. The matches promise to be very exciting."
With three wins in nine appearances, Spain are also among the favourites at this tournament. Since the final phase went up to eight teams in the 2013/14 season, Spain has always made it into the final. Besides Germany and Spain, the only other former winner of the tournament is Poland (2013).
The Netherlands will provide stiff competition, as they proved by winning the UEFA Women's EURO 2017. The U-17s qualified for this tournament without dropping a point and won their qualifying tournament at a canter with wins over Portugal, Belgium and Romania.
Did you know?
The UEFA U-17 Women’s European Championships were ratified by the UEFA Executive Committee on 22 May 2006 and introduced in the 2007/08 season
In the 2007/08 season, Dzsenifer Marozsan – current captain of the German national team – was the top scorer in the final phase.
Claudia Pina is one of the most lethal strikers in the ranks of La Rojita. In this season’s tournament (including qualifying matches), she has notched an incredible 20 goals and leads the way, level with Vivianne Miedema of the Netherland. In the 22-0 win over Montenegro in a European qualifier, she scored seven times. Tragically for Spain, Pina is injured and will most likely be forced to miss the U-17 Women’s Championship.