FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

7 June - 7 July

FIFA Women's World Cup

Young guns firing in European qualifiers

© Getty Images
  • Youngsters have been making their mark in France 2019 qualifying​
  • Strikers Lea Schuller & Vivianne Miedema among top scorers
  • Patri Guijarro & Stina Blackstenius impressing for Spain and Sweden

In Europe, the road to France 2019 has largely taken its expected course. Bar a few bumps along the way - such as Germany's shock loss to Iceland, or England dropping points at home to Wales - the continent's giants seem to be enjoying a generally smooth journey towards qualification.

But while the same old names might be heading up the various preliminary sections, it is not always their established stars that have fired them there. Several young players have been making their mark on these European qualifiers, and puts four of the most impressive under the microscope.


Age: 20
France 2019 qualifying appearances: 4
Goals: 5

Dynamic, athletic and strong on either foot, Schuller has used the France 2019 qualifiers to reinforce her position as one of German women's football's great hopes for the future. The undisputed highlight of her campaign came in the morale-boosting 4-0 win over Czech Republic, when she scored all four of her team's goals. The fact that two of those strikes came from her left foot, one from her right and one from her head was a telling example of the range of weapons in her attacking armoury.

They said
"Lea has huge potential."
Lena Goessling, Germany team-mate


Age: 20
France 2019 qualifying appearances: 5
Goals: 2

Energetic and inventive, Patri Guijarro has been cementing a reputation earned at youth level as a midfielder well capable of both scoring and creating goals. In grabbing Spain's 91st-minute winner away to Serbia, the Barcelona star also continued a habit - established during European title-winning campaigns with her country's U-17s and U-19s - of being a player for the big occasion. Guijarro also has goals to her name at FIFA U-20 and U-17 World Cups, and ahead of next year's senior event will be back at this year's U-20 finals as one of the tournament's likely stars.

They said
“I’m delighted to be playing and training with people who have so much experience. I can tell I’m maturing more quickly."
Patri Guijarro


Age: 21
France 2019 qualifying appearances: 4
Goals: 4

Though still just 21, Vivianne Miedema already needs little introduction. Tall, athletic, good in the air and deadly with either foot, the Arsenal striker was one of the stars of the Netherlands' Women's EURO victory, scoring twice in their final win over Denmark. Miedema has continued in that vein in Women's World Cup qualifying, scoring four goals in as many appearances and registering more shots on target (13) than any other player.

They said
"When I get the ball in front of goal, I don’t over-think things. I know exactly what I need to do."
Vivianne Miedema


Age: 22
France 2019 qualifying appearances: 3
Goals: 1

Strong, speedy, mobile and possessing a ferocious shot, this Swedish striker has been earmarked as one of the women's game's future greats for several years. She first came to attention in the process of finishing top scorer in the 2015 UEFA Women’s U-19 Championships, when Spain coach Jorge Vilda likened facing her to "playing a team with Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi in it". Blackstenius has since gone on to average a goal-a-game in her seven appearances at FIFA tournaments, netting five times in three outings at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in 2016 before proving her big-game credentials at the following year's Olympics with strikes against USA and Germany in the quarter-final and final. Known for her humility and professionalism, the Montpellier forward has been impressive in a Sweden team that lead Group 4 with a 100 per cent record.

They said
"I want to be able to decide games on my own, and my dream is to be the best player in the world.”
Stina Blackstenius

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