1979 European Competition for Women's Football

Last updated
1979 European Competition for Women's Football
1979 Coppa Europa per Nazioni
Tournament details
Host countryItaly
Dates19–27 July (8 days)
Final positions
ChampionsFlag of Denmark.svg  Denmark (1st title)
Runners-upFlag of Italy.svg  Italy
Third placeFlag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Fourth placeFlag of England.svg  England
Tournament statistics
Matches played16
Goals scored40 (2.5 per match)

The 1979 European Competition for Women's Football was a women's football tournament contested by European nations. It took place in Italy from 19 to 27 July 1979.

Womens association football association football when played by women

Women's association football, usually known as women's football or women's soccer, is the most prominent team sport played by women around the globe. It is played at the professional level in numerous countries throughout the world and 176 national teams participate internationally.


The tournament featured 12 teams, with games staged in Naples and Rimini. Considered unofficial because it was not run under the auspices of UEFA, it was a precursor to the UEFA Women's Championship. Denmark won the tournament, beating hosts Italy 2–0 in the final at Stadio San Paolo.

Naples Comune in Campania, Italy

Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. In 2017, around 967,069 people lived within the city's administrative limits while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,115,320 residents. Its continuously built-up metropolitan area is the second or third largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe.

Rimini Comune in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Rimini is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It sprawls along the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia and Ausa. It is one of the most famous seaside resorts in Europe, thanks to its 15-kilometre-long (9 mi) sandy beach, over 1,000 hotels, and thousands of bars, restaurants and discos. The first bathing establishment opened in 1843. An art city with ancient Roman and Renaissance monuments, Rimini is the birthplace of the famous film director Federico Fellini as well.

UEFA international sport governing body

The Union of European Football Associations is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several member states are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

Tournament review

Economically, the tournament was not a success: [1]

In the late 1970s the issue of international tournaments for women's football teams was contentious. The international governing body International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) refused several requests to sanction independently organised tournaments, declaring that such matters "were only possible through the National Association and the Confederations." Writing in 2007, Jean Williams observed that "The fact that they had been busy not organising these events seems to have escaped [FIFA's] notice. [2] According to Williams, FIFA's bureaucratic suppression of women's football was becoming unsustainable: "By the 1970s it simply wasn't a viable option for FIFA to ignore women playing the game and hope that they would go away." [3]

FIFA International governing body of association football

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association is a non-profit organization which describes itself as an international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and efootball. It is the highest governing body of football.

Jean Williams is a British sports historian and author specialising in Women's history; sport and literature; sportswear and motorsport. Having previously taught English for a decade, Williams is a senior research fellow at the International Centre for Sport History and Culture, De Montfort University. She also acts as a historical consultant to the National Football Museum, particularly for elections to the English Football Hall of Fame. Though mainly known for her work on women’s football, Williams has produced a range of material on the history of sports and the social contexts of events: these include articles on a collection of early modern sporting poems and 1950s British Bridge to a chapter on the Indianapolis 500 motor race in the United States. Williams has also looked at women’s motor racing for a special edition on Britain’s motorists published in 2014. In terms of public history, Williams is very interested in the midlands, writing of Leicestershire cricketer George Geary for Our Sporting Life, an exhibition held at Curve Theatre in February 2011.

The European Confederation, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), displayed little enthusiasm for women's football and were particularly hostile to Italy's independent women's football federation. Sue Lopez, a member of England's squad, contended that a lack of female representation in UEFA was a contributory factor: [4]

Sue Lopez, is an English former international footballer. She spent her entire club career with Southampton, except for a season in Italy's Serie A with Roma in 1971. A leading advocate of the women's game in England, Lopez has also worked as a coach, administrator and writer since her retirement from playing.

At a conference on 19 February 1980 UEFA resolved to launch its own competition for women's national teams. [5] The meeting minutes had registered the 1979 competition as a "cause for concern". [6]

UEFA Womens Championship European association football tournament for womens national teams

The UEFA European Women's Championship, also called the UEFA Women's Euro and unofficially the ‘European Cup’, held every fourth year, is the main competition in women's association football between national teams of the UEFA Confederation. The competition is the women's equivalent of the UEFA European Championship.

Minutes Written details of a meeting

Minutes, also known as minutes of meeting, protocols or, informally, notes, are the instant written record of a meeting or hearing. They typically describe the events of the meeting and may include a list of attendees, a statement of the issues considered by the participants, and related responses or decisions for the issues.


First round

The top team in each group advanced to the semi-finals.

Group A

Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 220061+54
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 210153+22
Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland 200218−70
Italy  Flag of Italy.svg4–0Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
Morace Soccerball shade.svg 15', 42'
Vignotto Soccerball shade.svg 33'
Golin Soccerball shade.svg 63'
Referee: Limini (Italy)

Northern Ireland  Ulster Banner.svg1–4Flag of Norway.svg  Norway
? Soccerball shade.svg Report Neilsen Soccerball shade.svg
Nyborg Soccerball shade.svg
Karlsen Soccerball shade.svg
Opseth Soccerball shade.svg
Attendance: 3,000

Italy  Flag of Italy.svg2–1Flag of Norway.svg  Norway
Golin Soccerball shade.svg 7'
Morace Soccerball shade.svg 68'
Report Neilsen Soccerball shade.svg 55'
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Beretta (Italy)

Group B

Flag of England.svg  England 220051+44
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 201124-21
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 201113−21
England  Flag of England.svg3–1Flag of Finland.svg  Finland
? Soccerball shade.svg
? Soccerball shade.svg
? Soccerball shade.svg
Report? Soccerball shade.svg

Switzerland   Flag of Switzerland.svg1–1Flag of Finland.svg  Finland
Barmettler Soccerball shade.svgReport? Soccerball shade.svg

England  Flag of England.svg2–0Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland
? Soccerball shade.svg
? Soccerball shade.svg

Group C

Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 220051+44
Flag of France.svg  France 201113-21
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 201102−21
Denmark  Flag of Denmark.svg3–1Flag of France.svg  France
Niemann Soccerball shade.svg
Hindkjær Soccerball shade.svg 50'
Holst Soccerball shade.svg
DBU Report (in Danish)
Report (in French)
Farrugia Soccerball shade.svg 25'
Attendance: 500 [8]

France  Flag of France.svg0–0Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Report (in French)
Attendance: 650

Denmark  Flag of Denmark.svg2–0Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Hindkjær Soccerball shade.svgSoccerball shade.svg DBU Report (in Danish)
Stadio Comunale, Riccione

Group D

Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 211041+33
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 211031+23
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 200205−50
Sweden  Flag of Sweden.svg3–0Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
Ödlund Soccerball shade.svg
Sintorn Soccerball shade.svg
Lindqvist Soccerball shade.svg

Wales  Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg0–2Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Report De Bakker Soccerball shade.svg 40'
Timmer Soccerball shade.svg 60' (pen.)

Sweden  Flag of Sweden.svg1–1Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Sintorn Soccerball shade.svg 2' Report De Bakker Soccerball shade.svg 21'

Knockout stage

25 July – Naples
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 3
28 July – Naples
Flag of England.svg  England 1
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 2
25 July – Rimini
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 0
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 1
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 0
Third place
27 July – Naples
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden (pen.)0 (4)
Flag of England.svg  England 0 (3)


Italy  Flag of Italy.svg3–1Flag of England.svg  England
Vignotto Soccerball shade.svg 11', 65'
Musumeci Soccerball shade.svg 70'
Report Curl Soccerball shade.svg 49'

Denmark  Flag of Denmark.svg1–0Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Niemann Soccerball shade.svg 25' DBU Report (in Danish)
Attendance: 1,000

Third place match

Sweden  Flag of Sweden.svg0–0Flag of England.svg  England
4 – 3


After a goalless first half, Denmark took the lead 10 minutes into the second period through 18–year–old striker Lone Smidt Hansen (who later became Lone Smidt Nielsen through marriage). [10] Inge Hindkjær secured Denmark's victory with her fourth goal of the tournament, four minutes from full-time. [11] After the tournament, the Danish Football Association (DBU) were subject to media criticism for their failure to properly develop women's football.

Lone Smidt Nielsen is a Danish former international footballer who played professionally in Italy with ACF Trani.

Inge Hindkjær is a Danish former international footballer who played for Skovlunde.

Denmark  Flag of Denmark.svg2–0Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Smidt Nielsen Soccerball shade.svg 51'
Hindkjær Soccerball shade.svg 76'
FIGC Report (in Italian)
DBU Report (in Danish)
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Pancani (Italy)


 European Competition for Women's Football
1979 Winners 
Flag of Denmark.svg
First title


  1. Erik Garin's tournament page at Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation says Italy won this match 4–1.
  2. The Italian Football Federation report says this game took place in Benevento. The Football Association of Norway report says Naples.
  3. The Swedish Football Association list of matches says this game took place in Naples. Sue Lopez's book Women on the Ball suggests nearby Scafati.

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  1. Williams 2007 , p. 31
  2. Williams 2007 , p. 10
  3. Williams 2007 , p. 14
  4. Lopez 1997 , p. 99
  5. "2013 Uefa Women's Competitions" (PDF). UEFA. August 2013. p. 4. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  6. Williams 2007 , p. 30
  7. Garin, Erik (30 April 2006). "Switzerland - International Matches Women 1970-2003". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation . Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  8. "France 1-3 Danemark" (in French). French Football Federation . Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  9. "Sveriges motståndare 1973-2011" (in Swedish). Swedish Football Association . Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  10. Bruun, Peter (2 June 2005). "Progress delights great Dane". UEFA . Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  11. "Danmark - Italien 2 - 0". Danish Football Association . Retrieved 26 August 2012.