This year marks the 13th edition and 40th anniversary of the UEFA Women’s Championship. What started as a small competition played in various places around Europe in the inaugural edition in 1982, has now become a main fixture on the women’s soccer calendar. The 2022 edition will be hosted by England and sees 16 teams playing across 10 venues in eight host cities with the final to be played at the Iconic Wembley Stadium.
What Country Has Won The Most Women’s Euros? Germany are the undisputed queens of the Women’s Euros. There have been 12 tournaments to date and Germany (or West Germany) has won eight of those events. That 66.6% winning record is incredible in a major international sporting tournament, as is the fact that Germany is a stunning 8-0 in the Women’ European Championship Final. They have never lost when making it to the title game.
There have only been four countries to have ever won this event. Sweden, Norway (twice), and the Netherlands are the three countries that have managed to prevent Germany from sweeping all 12 editions of the championship to date. Here is a look at the competition finals to put the domination of Germany into perspective:
1982 – Sweden 1, England 1 (Sweden won 4-3 on penalties)
This was very much a championship in its formative stages. Four groups of four teams based on geographic location took part in a 16 team qualification section. The top team from each group qualified through to a pair of two legged semi-finals and a two legged final. Sweden beat England on penalties after each team won 1-0 in their home leg.
West Germany was beaten in their Central Europe qualifying pod by Demark.
1987 – Norway 2, Sweden 1
Similar qualification process to the first installment of the event, but this time the finals took place between the four qualified teams over the course of five days in Norway. The hosts (who were the reason West Germany failed to qualify) beat Sweden in an all Scandinavian final.
1989 – West Germany 4, Norway 1
The first win for Germany (their only win as West Germany) came when they hosted the finals in 1989. Four groups of 16 were again qualifying for a four team tournament in one location for the finals. The difference this year was that the two top countries from each qualification pool qualified to play in a two legged quarterfinal before the competition proper. West Germany won their group ahead of Italy, beat Czechoslovakia in their quarterfinal, Italy in the semifinal, and then dominated defending champions Norway in the final.
1991 – Germany 3, Norway 1 (after extra time)
Germany went back-to-back as they won the 1991 Euros in Denmark. They again beat Norway in the final, this time needing extra time to do so after the game was a 1-1 draw at the end of 90 minutes.
1993 – Norway 1, Italy 0
The two-time losing finalists picked up their second Women’s Euros title as Norway won the 1993 tournament in Italy. They overcame the hosts in the final after Italy beat Germany on penalties in the semifinal. With eight qualifying groups of three teams the gulf between the best sides and the worst was on show. Norway qualified from their four group games to the quarterfinal stage with 24 goals scored and zero conceded. That was despite one of their games (against Belgium) being a 0-0 draw.
1995 – Germany 3, Sweden 2
The 1995 tournament was the first of six that Germany would win in a row. This meant that from Norway in 1991 until the Netherlands in 2017, they were the only country to lift the trophy in a remarkable run of sustained dominance. The run started here in a tournament that went back to the semifinals being two legged games. The final was a 3-2 win where Germany went 1-0 down before fighting back to beat the Swedes in Kaiserslautern.
1997 – Germany 2, Italy 0
The first modern feeling euros was hosted by Norway and Sweden and saw eight teams play in the finals split into two groups. Germany actually came second in their group to Italy (albeit on the goals scored tiebreaker) before taking down Sweden in the semis and then overcoming the Italians in the final.
2001 – Germany 1, Sweden 0 (golden goal extra time)
The closest Germany came to losing a final during their run was here on home soil in Ulm. They were dominant on their route to the final, including a 3-1 win over Sweden in their first group game. In the final, however, the Swedes proved a tougher test. The tie was locked at 0-0 in the first period of extra time when Claudia Muller became the only woman to ever decide the destination of a Women’s Euros with a golden goal, doing so in the 98th minute.
2005 – Germany 3, Norway 1
This was an important tournament for the Germans as it was the last one coached by the legendary Tina Theune-Meyer. The coach had announced her plans to move on before the tournament began and the 3-1 win over Norway was the perfect end to her reign. Over the course of nine years she coached Germany to three European titles, two Olympic bronze medals, and a World Cup victory.
2009 – Germany 6, England 2
The most dominant win in a final in Women’s Euros history was the 6-2 drubbing Germany put on England in 2009. Comfortably the European power at this stage, Germany beat rivals Norway 4-0 in the group stage, France 5-1, and then had a 1-0 win over Iceland with reserves making up the team. Italy and Norway fell victim to the German machine in the knockout stages before they beat England.
2013 – Germany 1, Norway 0
It is fitting that Germany’s sixth championship in a row came with a win over Norway in the final. They also beat Italy in the knockouts, something that has happened in seemingly every Women’s Euros to date. Without the existence of Germany it is likely the Italians would have had at least three titles and maybe a couple more. The final here was settled in the 49th minute when Anja Mittag scored the only goal of the game.
2017 – Netherlands 4, Demark 2
The 2017 Euros was interesting as it felt like a changing of the guard. Germany suffered just their second defeat in the Euros since 1993 as they were dumped out by eventual beaten finalists Denmark in the quarters. Norway failed to score a goal and were dumped out unceremoniously in the group stage from a group that included hosts (and shock winners) the Netherlands along with the aforementioned Danes. Italy also failed to make it out of the group stages.
More competition is certainly a great thing for women’s soccer and it will be interesting to see how Germany and the other old powers perform at the delayed 2022 championships this summer.