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Republic of Ireland Under-19's

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Bedfordshire to host U19 qualifiers next month

England Under-19s will play their Second Group Stage qualifying round at venues in Bedfordshire next month. England are unbeaten in qualifying so far, but will face a tough battle with Denmark, Spain and Republic of Ireland to claim the single automatic qualifying spot to reach the July 2003 Finals.

England will come up against their old foes Denmark, to whom they lost both in the qualifying stage and at the European Championship Finals in May 2002. Each game was lost by a single goal, 4-3 in Denmark and then 2-1 in Sweden at the Finals.

Mo Marley’s England side gave their best ever European Championship performance by reaching the semi-finals, where they lost to Germany by
a single goal. Germany went on to win the tournament and they will host the Finals of the competition in July 2003, for which they qualify as hosts.

England beat hosts Bulgaria, Faroe Islands and Lithuania in the First Group Qualifier in October 2002. The winner of the Second Group Stage will go through to the Finals, but three of the best four group runners-up will also go to the eight-team tournament, being held in Germany.

The Second Round matches, between 15-19th April, will be played at various venues around Bedford.

Tuesday 15th April 2003
Spain v Denmark at 2.00pm
England v Republic of Ireland at 6.00pm
Both matches at Bedford Town FC
Ticket details: £1 entry on the gate (entry fee covers both games)

Thursday 17th April 2003
Denmark v Republic of Ireland at 2.00pm
Spain v England at 6.00pm
Both matches at Arlesey Town FC
Ticket details: £1 adults/concessions in advance on 01462 734512/on the gate

Saturday 19th April 2003
Republic of Ireland v Spain at 3.00pm at Wootton Blue Cross FC
Denmark v England at 3.00pm at Barton Rovers FC
England ticket details: £1 adults/concessions on 01582 882398 or on the gate

England Girls handed tough European draw

The England Women's Under-19 side have been handed a tough group in the draw for this summer's UEFA U19 European Championship Finals, which will be held in Germany in July. England will face hosts and current holders Germany, to whom England lost 1-0 in the semi-finals in last year's final tournament.

England will also face Italy and Sweden in the group stage between July 25-29th. The draw was made on Thursday May 8th in the host country of Germany.

Mo Marley's England squad qualified for this year's championships by way of two qualifying rounds and remain unbeaten over the 2002-03 season. England travelled to Bulgaria for the first round in October, where they competently beat the hosts Bulgaria, Lithuania and the Faroe Islands.

In the second qualifying round, hosted in Bedfordshire last month, England beat Republic of Ireland and Denmark, although a draw against Spain meant they finished second in the group on goal difference - qualifying as one of three best runners-up.

Marley, who attended the draw in Geneva, commented: "I think most people would recognise that we had the toughest draw, as all three of the teams we are placed with came through as group winners or as champions. It will be tough, but it is an exciting challenge for the team.

"We had a tight game against Germany last year in the semi-final and it will be another good game when we meet them in our last group match. Our players have overcome their nerves of playing against the German side - of course we respect them because they have always been the dominant force at this level, but we are improving against them all the time."

England have already beaten one of the teams they lost to in last summer's championships - Denmark. Both teams had fielded very different sides to last season due to the turnaround in playing staff at this age group, with players becoming too old to be considered.

England will gain more of an idea of their championship hopes next week when they travel to Sweden for a friendly on Thursday May 15th. Sweden hosted last season's Finals, but they failed to progress from their group. Italy did not qualify for last season's tournament, so are an unknown quantity, while Germany beat France 3-1 to lift the title last term.

"We actually arranged the international with Sweden prior to the draw, but now it will be a great opportunity for us to have a look at them," added Marley. "Sweden were unfortunate to not go beyond their group last year because they were a strong team and I am led to believe that most of that team are still playing in this age group."

In the second Finals Group will be 2002 Finalists France, the Netherlands, Spain and Norway.

The Final of the tournament as well as one semi-final will be broadcast live on Eurosport.

Match schedule

Friday 25th July
Sweden v England
Markranstadt, 6.30pm (local time)
Germany v Italy, 6.30pm

Sunday 27th July
Italy v England
Markeleeberg, 3.00pm
Germany v Sweden, 3.00pm

Tuesday 29th July
England v Germany
Torgau, 6.00pm

Italy v Sweden, 6.00pm

Friday 1st August

Sunday 3rd August
Final - live on Eurosport
Alfred Kunze Sportpark

England U19's to face Republic of Ireland

England Under-19s will play a friendly international next month against Republic of Ireland as they prepare for April’s second qualifying stage of this year’s UEFA European Championship. Gravesend & Northfleet FC will host the international fixture at their Stonebridge Road ground on Friday 19th March, kick-off 2pm. Entry is only £1 for all ages. The 'Fleet office, contactable on 01474 324754, will handle all ticket sales and there are deals available for schools and clubs.

"This is a great honour for the club. The FA were particularly impressed by the excellent condition of the pitch, for which Peter Norton, our groundsman, should take full credit," said Gravesend’s Chief Executive Glenn Aitken. "We recently hosted a Charlton Women’s game against Fulham and it was great to watch. This international will be a great boost for women’s football in the area.”

England U19's hope for victory

The England Under-19 side will play an international against Republic of Ireland this Friday at Gravesend & Northfleet FC, kick-off 2.00pm. The team will use the game as practise for the Second Group Qualifying Stage next month as England aim to qualify for the UEFA U19 European Championship, being held in Finland in July. The Qualifying Group will be hosted by European champions France and England will also face the Netherlands and Belgium to battle for the one automatic qualifying place or best runner-up spot.

England have reached the semi-finals of the past two annual European Finals and the same finish this season would see them qualify for the second FIFA U19 World Championship, which will be held in Thailand in November.

Entry to Friday’s game costs £1 for all.

Behind closed doors friendly

England Under 19s played a behind-closed-doors friendly against their Republic of Ireland counterparts yesterday with Blues Ladies' Laura Husselbee playing for around 70 minutes and Karen Carney getting on for the last 20. Both will be hoping to figure, along with team mate Beth Bailey in the official friendly at Gravesend tomorrow. But Carney, a 16-year-old winger from Hall Green, said it was difficult to put the disappointment of losing to Charlton in the FA semi final behind her. "I was really gutted when the final whistle went, I just wanted to get out of there," she said. "We were so close, I just think we were really unlucky. It's difficult because I really wanted to get to the final but it's behind us now. We have to look forward to tomorrow and Sunday because everyone wants to be involved in a cup final and we want to be the first team to win the County Cup four years in a row."

Birmingham City in County Cup

Midfielder Beth Bailey enjoyed a rewarding weekend, opening her England under 19s account on Friday with the second goal in a 3-1 win over the Republic of Ireland at Gravesend. The midfielder was benched for Blues Ladies' 2-1 County Cup win over Wolves on Sunday with the idea of being rested after 90 minutes for England but was pressed into service after just 15 minutes following an injury to Shelley Cox. Karen Carney played both matches for club and country, scoring the winning goal to extend Blues' record winning streak in the County Cup to four in a row after Hozzanna Parnell's equaliser in a 2-1 win. And Laura Husselbee played in the cup final after sitting on the bench for the under 19s clash.


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