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Rupert Wyman 9th Sep 2009 - 13:30

Powell's England look beyond Hope against Germany

Germany's women are the dominant force in European football. The inaugural European Championships took place in 1984 and this year's running is the tenth edition and Germany are looking for an incredible seventh title in total, and fifth in a row, as they take on England in the final.

Unsurprisingly the Germans are hot 4/11 favourites and it would take a brave person to back against them. The patriotic punt on England is available at 7/1 with the draw at 19/5.

Of course England v Germany has a rich history in the game but this will be the first time the nations have met in a major female final. England have not been in a final since the inaugural event when they lost on penalties to Sweden.

England's run to the final this time around has been a bit of a rollercoaster with a defeat in their opening game against Italy followed by being 2-0 down against Russia before storming back to win the match 3-2. This comeback maintained their qualification hopes for the quarter-finals heading into the final group match as defeat would have seen them eliminated.

In the final group match England drew 1-1 with Sweden which was enough to send Hope Powell's side through as one of the two best third-placed teams.

In the quarters the hosts Finland were beaten 3-2 to set up a semi with the tournament's surprise package Netherlands. Eventually England prevailed with a 2-1 win after extra time as Jill Scott headed home the winner four minutes before the end.

As a result it is fair to say that England are a bit inconsistent and you are never quite sure what you are going to get, but they are in the final and that is what counts. Unfortunately for Hope Powell and her ladies though the Germans are a formidable outfit.

In contrast to England's struggle in the group stages, Germany have sailed through the tournament with a perfect record just as they did in 2001 and 2005. They have a current 34 winning streak in the tournament as the last time they failed to win a match was way back in 1999 when they drew 4-4 with Italy.

The two teams have met 18 times previously with Germany winning 16 of these meetings with 2 draws. Both the draws were 0-0 affairs in 2007 World Cup and the Four Nations Tournament in the same year.

On the last occasion they played each other Germany ran out 3-0 winners in a friendly last summer. The legendary Birgit Prinz was on the scoresheet that day and if she plays against England it will be her 50th cap.

For England star of the show is the Boston Breakers' Kelly Smith, however, unfortunately, I can't see anything stopping Germany as they bid to win yet another European Championships. Hope Powell will be praying that the extra day's rest will influence proceedings but even that should not stop the rampant Germans as they should be able to defend their record of having never lost to England.

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