Euro 2005 final Germany seek perfection

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The Independent Football

Germany are determined to bring the curtain down on the nine-year reign of Tina Theune-Mayer as coach by winning their fourth European title in a row at Norway's expense today.

Germany are determined to bring the curtain down on the nine-year reign of Tina Theune-Mayer as coach by winning their fourth European title in a row at Norway's expense today.

Such is the superiority of Germany's skill, fitness and tactical astuteness that the odds must favour them achieving a blank sheet, too. The only goal they have conceded in the tournament so far came in their 4-1 victory over Finland in the semi-finals. "We want this gold medal, that's it," Theune-Mayer said, but a clean sheet would make it the perfect sign-off for her.

Germany go into today's match at Ewood Park with their strikers, Birgit Prinz and Inka Grings, in top form while Norway are tired after their arduous semi-final victory over Sweden on Thursday, when Solveig Gulbrandsen scored her second goal of the night to win it 3-2 in extra time.

"It was maybe too tough a game in the semi-final with the extra time because we only have two days' rest before we play the best team in the world," Bjarne Berntsen, Norway's coach, said. It is galling. With a side full of energy Norway ran Germany close in their opening match in Warrington, losing only 1-0.

Berntsen may get a miracle again from Isabell Herlovsen but, at 16, it is asking a lot for her to score another vital goal like her equaliser against France in the group phase and her header against Sweden.

But as her father, the international Kai-Erik, played for Borussia Mönchengladbach, a chance to spike the Germans might just inspire her to yet another great feat.

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