Summer 2014 was a golden one for Norway, with the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship played out amid blazing sun and record temperatures. But it was a forward with ice in her veins who shone brightest of all.
Vivianne Miedema almost did not travel to Oslo. Though only days past her 18th birthday she was already an established senior international with 11 goals in ten caps. Yet after discussions with the Dutch coaches and new employers FC Bayern München, travel she did – she took the tournament by storm.
Having missed the opening day draw with the hosts because of a groin problem, she announced herself against Scotland. She scored twice and forced an own goal inside the first 24 minutes before being withdrawn at half-time as a precaution – without her, Scotland pulled it back to 3-2 in a grandstand finale.
The Scots went into that game on the back of their first finals win in ten attempts, prevailing 2-0 against a Belgium team who had stunned Germany in qualifying. The Red Flames could not reignite those glories, however, and were extinguished after three losses. Scotland paid for their efforts in their final Group A outing, thumped 5-0 by section winners Norway.
Miedema returned to centre stage with a semi-final hat-trick against the Republic of Ireland – few disagreed when Andre Koolhof described her as a "phenomenon". The 4-0 defeat was a harsh ending for the Irish, who rivalled Miedema for the headlines in a memorable debut campaign when they sparkled as much on the pitch as they did on the piano at tournament headquarters.
Victories over eventual finalists Spain, a youthful England and Sweden saw them advance with maximum points. All were former winners, with England runners-up 12 months earlier in Wales and Sweden responsible for knocking out holders France in qualifying – neither survived into the second week. Spain joined Ireland in the last four, dusting themselves down from the opening-day loss with a pair of 2-0 wins.
Jorge Vilda's side made it a hat-trick in the semis, ruining Norway's dream of a home triumph to mark the end of coach Jarl Torske's 14-year tenure amid lightning-illuminated skies more associated with nightmares. The sun was back for the final at the Ullevaal Stadion, and yet again it was Miedema who shone brightest of all.
Spain were on the front foot for much of the game – "the better side" both coaches agreed at full time – but when Miedema got her chance she took it on 21 minutes. Spotting Sara Serrat off her line, the No9 almost nonchalantly chipped in for her sixth goal of the finals as the Netherlands became the first name to be etched on the new trophy.
Final tournament results
Group A: NOR 0-0 NED, BEL 0-2 SCO; NOR 2-1 BEL, NED 3-2 SCO; SCO 0-5 NOR, NED 1-0 BEL
Group B: ENG 0-2 SWE, IRE 1-0 ESP; ENG 1-2 IRE, SWE 0-2 ESP; ESP 2-0 ENG, SWE 1-2 IRE
Semi-finals: NOR 0-2 ESP, IRE 0-4 NED
Final: ESP 0-1 NED
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