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  Monday, 2 July, 2001, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
England women show promise
Marieanne Spacey
Spacey's swansong came at Euro 2001
By BBC Sport Online's Tony Leighton

Among England's reflections on the women's Euro 2001 tournament may not be the realisation that a watershed has taken place in the history of the nation's women's team.

But, in what was England's first appearance at a major tournament for six years, the sea of change was symbolised by the retirement from international football of veteran Arsenal striker Marieanne Spacey.

Coupled with the emergence of youngsters such as Fulham's teenage central defender Katie Chapman a new era now beckons for coach Hope Powell's side.

Katie Chapman
Chapman is highly rated

The 35-year-old Spacey, an iconic figure in the women's game, decided to call time after winning her 91st cap in England's second Euro 2001 group game against Sweden.

Former captain Gill Coultard, who made a record 119 England appearances, retired only a few months ago and 34-year-old current skipper Mo Marley will also consider her future as Powell looks ahead with an increasing reliance on younger players.

On Saturday in their final group game against Germany - who they meet again in a World Cup qualifier on September 27th - England were beaten 3-0.

Nevertheless, they produced a highly encouraging performance either side of the Germans' match-winning burst of three goals in 11 minutes midway through the second half.

The average age of the back four was only 20 and Chapman was again outstanding as Powell's team produced their most composed hour of football in either the tournament itself or matches leading up to it.


In a few years time they will compete with the best teams in Europe
German coach Tina Theune-Meyer

With Under-18 and Under-16 teams now firmly established and a long-term plan aimed at having a real chance of winning the 2007 World Cup, England made positive steps along that ambitious road during Euro 2001.

German coach Tina Theune-Meyer certainly thought so. She said: "I was impressed with England, they are a team for the future because they have good young players.

"I like some of them very much, for instance Sue Smith, Rachel Yankey and especially Chapman who is a very good player.

"In a few years time they will compete with the best teams in Europe."


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Links to more Womens Euro 2001 stories are at the foot of the page.


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