Women's Football

Women's Euros: Greatest ever players

Jamie Spencer
Inka Grings, Silvia Neid & Birgit Prinz are all legend of the Women's European Championships
Inka Grings, Silvia Neid & Birgit Prinz are all legend of the Women's European Championships / Pool/GettyImages

The UEFA Women's Championship - usually often referred to as the Women's Euros - is the longest running major international tournament in women's football.

It can trace its unofficial roots all the way back to 1969, but became a UEFA tournament in 1984, meaning there are still decades of 'official' history.

The tournament has seen many of the best players in the world rise to the fore over the years.

Here's a look at the top 15 stars to grace the women's Euros...

15. Karen Carney (England)

Karen Carmey
Karen Carney was only 17 when she burst onto the scene for England / Ian Walton/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017

England legend Karen Carney scored a stoppage time winner in her first ever Euro appearance in 2005. What's more, it was on home soil and she was still only 17 at the time.

The winger went on to compete at four European Championship tournaments in total, including helping England beat the odds to reach the final in 2009 and then get to the 2017 semi-finals as an established nation.

14. Victoria Svensson (Sweden)

Victoria Svensson
Victoria Svensson came close to winning the Euros several times / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009

Sweden came so close to being crowned European champions throughout Victoria Svensson's international career, showing excellent consistency.

The forward reached at least the semi-finals in her first three tournaments and was a losing finalist in 2001.

13. Solveig Gulbrandsen (Norway)

Solveig Gulbrandsen
Solveig Gulbrandsen played at 10 major international tournaments / Michael Steele/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013

Norway have such a huge European Championship history and legacy, rarely failing to at least make it to the semi-finals and often going further.

Midfielder Solveig Gulbrandsen never failed to get to the last four at four successive tournaments over 12 years. Consistent performances even put her joint seventh on the all-time goalscorer list.

12. Lieke Martens (Netherlands)

Lieke Martens
Lieke Martens delivered Dutch glory in 2017 / VI-Images/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 2017

Lieke Martens was the shining star in the Netherlands team that won Euro 2017 on home soil. Prior to that, the Dutch had never been to a World Cup and only two previous European Championships.

But Martens and the team captured the imagination. She was named player of the tournament for her performances, also going on to win the 2017 Best FIFA Women's Player a few months later.

11. Hanna Ljungberg (Sweden)

Hanna Ljungberg
Hanna Ljungberg was part of a top Swedish side / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1997, 2001, 2005

Swedish star Hanna Ljungberg deserved to win a European Championship title during her illustrious career. She was the best player at Euro 2001 when she helped her country reach the final and never failed to get to the semis.

Ljungberg scored six Euro goals in total over three separate tournaments and was at one point bizarrely even contacted by Italian men's club Perugia to try and sign her.

10. Nadine Angerer (Germany)

Nadine Angerer
Nadine Angerer had to wait for her Germany chance / John Berry/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013

Five titles means that no one has ever won more European Championships than goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, holding the joint record with one of her German teammates.

But she had to be patient, having been a back-up at her first three, eventually taking over the gloves in time for Euro 2009. Angerer was then captain in 2013 and was named FIFA World Player of the Year as well.

9. Pia Sundhage (Sweden)

Pia Sundhage
Pia Sundhage is now widely known as a coach / Andre Ringuette/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1984, 1987, 1989, 1995

Today, Pia Sundhage is revered as a coach, having led the United States to back-to-back Olympic gold medals. But the Swede was one of the early superstars of international women's football during her own career.

Sundhage fired Sweden to victory in the inaugural European Championship in 1984, which remains their last victory, and continued to appear at the tournaments for another 11 years.

8. Heidi Mohr (Germany)

Heidi Mohr was a prolific goalscorer for Germany
Heidi Mohr was a prolific goalscorer for Germany / TOMMY CHENG/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995

Heidi Mohr had an incredible strike rate at club and international level in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She was top scorer at the Euro tournament in 1991 as Germany won as a unified nation for the first time.

Overall, Mohr lifted three titles out of four and still sits joint third on the all-time list of the competition's top goalscorers.

7. Martina Voss (Germany)

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg
Martina Voss was appointed Germany coach in 2019 / Christof Koepsel/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997

Now known as Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and the current Germany head coach, the retired midfielder enjoyed a near flawless record at the European Championships of the late 1980s and into the 1990s.

Voss played at five Euro tournaments in just eight years when the competitions were spaced only a couple of summers apart and collected four winners' medals.

6. Silvia Neid (Germany)

Silvia Neid; Tone Haugen
Silvia Neid was a European champion as a player & coach / JACK MIKRUT/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995

For Silvia Neid, two European Championship titles as a coach were preceded by three as a player from her own glittering career.

A goalscoring midfielder, Neid was on top form in 1991 when Germany were victorious for the second time, retaining their title from 1989, and emerged as the tournament's best player.

5. Carolina Morace (Italy)

Carolina Morace
Carolina Morace's Italy were an early European power / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1984, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997

Italy fell away from the top tier of women's international football in the late 1990s - only just threatening to return now - but were among the early European powers, thanks in no small part to Carolina Morace.

Italy qualified for six of the first seven European Championships between 1984 and 1997 during Morace's long peak, twice playing in the final. In the latter, she was best player and joint top scorer.

4. Hege Riise (Norway)

Hege Riise; Malin Andersson,
Norway's Hege Riise was world class in the early/mid-1990s / Harry How/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001

Hege Riise inspired Norway to European Championship glory and World Cup glory in the space of two years between 1993 and 1995, finishing both tournaments by being named best player.

The midfielder played at five Euro tournaments in total over the course of a decade. Norway reached the final twice, winning once, and the semi-finals twice during that incredibly consistent run.

3. Inka Grings (Germany)

Inka Grings
Inka Grings was unstoppable at her peak / ANTTI AIMO-KOIVISTO/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 2005, 2009

Inka Grings only played at two European Championships but made a huge impact. She scored 10 goals - four in 2005 and six in 2009 - as Germany won both and is joint top of the all-time goalscorer list.

Despite being world class at a time when Germany dominated globally, Grings never actually won a World Cup. She was injured in 2003 and had fallen out with coach Silvia Neid in 2007 - Germany won both without her.

2. Bettina Wiegmann (Germany)

Bettina Wiegmann
Longevity defined Bettina Wiegmann's Germany career / Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001

Bettina Wiegmann's international career spanned 14 years, took in five European Championship tournaments, winning it four times - late winners in the 1995 final and 1997 semi-final proved crucial.

As well as being joint-seventh all-time top scorer, Wiegmann is joint-fourth on the competition's all-time appearance list. Following her team's win in 1997, she was also named Germany's Women's Footballer of the Year.

1. Birgit Prinz (Germany)

Birgit Prinz
Birgit Prinz spearheaded so much of Germany's success / OLIVER LANG/GettyImages

Euro tournaments: 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009

Birgit Prinz had an absolutely flawless run over the course of 15 years from the mid-1990s until the end of the 2000s. As well back-to-back World Cups, she won a staggering five European Championships.

Prinz holds the joint record with Nadine Angerer but played a far greater role. She is also top of the list for all-time appearances in the competition (23) and joint top among the all-time goalscorers (10).

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