1979 European Competition for Women's Football

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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)
1969 (unofficial)
1984 (official)

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.


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.

Tournament review

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

The 1979 Italian tournament is often cited as being financially disastrous, but it was not so for the participating teams. Rather, the hosts bore the costs, but the financial problems affected the organization of the competition.

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]

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]

In 1971, UEFA had set up a committee for women's football, composed exclusively of male representatives, and by the time this committee folded in 1978 they had failed to organise any international competitions.

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]


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 Kaasinen Soccerball shade.svg

Switzerland   Flag of Switzerland.svg1–1Flag of Finland.svg  Finland
Barmettler Soccerball shade.svg 51'ReportKrummenacher Soccerball shade.svg 43' (o.g.)

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.

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.