A victory against the Germans, who have won each of the previous European Cups, would be a tremendous boost but it would be in the almost certain knowledge that they would have to repeat their win on Sunday afternoon to take the gold.
Captained by 22-year-old Franziska Hentschel, the Germans have a young, skilful side with 10 of their 12, including the teenager, Britta Becker, having won silver medals in the Barcelona Olympics. They look like continuing their phenomenal run of success. However, if they are to be beaten for the first time then England are probably the side best equipped to lower their colours.
England's coach, Maggie Souyave, has selected a side relying on experience, six of them won bronze medals in Bad Neuenahr in 1987. In Jo Thompson and Carolyn Reid they have two outstanding goalkeepers who could just give them the edge.
Scotland, who took the bronze behind the Germans and the Dutch in the last championship, are in the other half of the draw, along with Spain, Austria and Czechoslovakia, who will be playing as a unified side. The Scots, like England, have emphasised experience, calling upon six players, including their captain, Wendy Fraser, from the successful Glasgow Western side, who have won many honours in the indoor game.
Fraser, a Great Britain bronze medallist in Barcelona, is a great motivator who has been influential in Scotland's game over the past 10 years and should lead her side to the semi-finals. She would like nothing better than to meet England on the way to a final against Germany.
Scotland will need to finish top of their pool to avoid a semi-final contest with the Germans. Their game with Spain, who have nine of their Olympic gold medallists in the side, on Saturday morning, will be crucial.
ENGLAND SQUAD (for Women's European Indoor Nations Cup, Crystal Palace): C Reid, J Crook, F Lee, L Marsden (all Hightown), S Lister, J Thompson (both Ipswich), S Wright, S Chandler (both Slough), L Bollington, J Smith, C Harvie (all Chelmsford), M Nicholls (Ealing).
SCOTLAND SQUAD (for Women's European Indoor Nations Cup, Crystal Palace): S Lawrie (Ealing), P Robertson, J Jack, E Cooper, G Messenger, D Renilson (all Edinburgh Ladies), T Robb, M Coutts, W Fraser, S MacDonald, A Menzies, E Murray (all Glasgow Western).Reuse content