May 16 – The opening round of the 2023 UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship in Estonia on Sunday saw Spain, Switzerland, France and England all make winning starts.
The biggest result of the first round was the Spanish victory over the Germany who have dominated the Women’s U17 age group in Europe.
The Germans are the current reigning champions, have qualified for 13 of the 14 finals tournaments held, and have won the title eight times.
But reputation meant nothing to Barcelona and Spain’s Vicky López, part of the Spain side that lost last year’s final to Germany, who scored both the goals in the 2-0 win.
In the same group, hosts Estonia who are competing in their first U17 finals, were beaten 4-0 by Switzerland with goals from Leela Egli, Emanuela Pfister, Anja Klingenstein and Nathalie Widmer.
In Group B Michelle Agyemang of Arsenal struck twice in a 2-1 defeat of Poland, despite the English being a player down after Mari Ward was sent off on 35 minutes. Sophia Poor saved Magdalena Półrolniczak’s resultant penalty, and although Wiktoria Kuprowska netted in added time, England had vital opening points.
In the other game in the group second-half goals by Liana Joseph, Lou Autin and Chancelle Effa Effa saw France overcome Sweden. Sweden need a win against England in their next game to stay in contention for a semi-finals spot.
The second round of group games takes place tomorrow (Wednesday May 17). The top two in each group progressing to the semi-finals. The final is on Friday May 26 at Lilleküla Stadium, Tallinn.
It is the first time the Baltic nation has played in or hosted a female final tournament.
UEFA Women’s Football Committee chair and Estonian FA general secretary Anne Rei said the U17 tournament is building on the success of the Euro 2022 tournament played last year which sparked record-breaking attendance numbers in different leagues, major brands entering the women’s football sector, growing media interest that is creating women’s football stars and thousands of girls taking up the game.
“All this needs to be capitalised on,” Rei told UEFA.com.
“These tournaments are vital to the development of young female players…they can experience the demands of an international tournament at the European level. The impact can be seen with the senior national teams, with many of today’s most prominent players starting their international careers at the Women’s Under-17 level.”
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