England ready to make amends for 2009 final heartache
Hope Powell leads her England squad back to the European Championships tonight, looking to avenge their 6-2 defeat at the hands of Germany in the 2009 final.
It was a heartbreaking end to an otherwise successful tournament, and the side have spent the past four years waiting for the opportunity to make amends.
They open up their latest challenge for European glory against Spain in Group C.
A surprise 4-1 defeat to hosts Sweden in their last match dented pre-tournament preparation but England are 11/10 to beat the Spaniards having gone 11 games unbeaten prior to that Swedish loss.
Injuries have hampered England’s pre-Euros regime too, with the talismanic Kelly Smith again struggling to stay fully fit, but the side still has a wealth of experience including England’s record caps holder Rachel Yankee.
The squad is bolstered by a host of youngsters like Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs who have burst onto the international scene.
The pair are two of five players in the side who won the U19 European Championships with England in 2009, and while they bring some youthful exuberance, they also bring a winning mentality despite their relative inexperience and are unlikely to be fazed by the task ahead of them.
Powell is remaining cautious about England’s chances, but they are 12/1 to win the tournament and 9/4 to win the group with arguably a stronger team than that final-reaching side of 2009.
Spain are 21/10 to win tonight, and though they are unbeaten in six, they’ve only won two of those matches – against Scotland and Russia – sides ranked 20th and 22nd respectively.
A draw tonight is 12/5, a price that could prove rewarding given that every match so far in these Championships has ended all square, with each team eager to get points on the board early.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing