The UEFA Referees’ Committee has appointed FIFA Referee Esther Azzopardi as one of 6 neutral referees at the 14th UEFA Women’s Under-19 Final Tournament being played in Israel from 15th to 27th July 2015. The other 5 female international referees appointed for this prestigious tournament are Lina Lehtovaara (Finland), Eleni Lampadariou (Greece), Rhona Daly (Republic of Ireland), Lorraine Clark (Scotland) and Ana Minic (Serbia).
Esther Azzopardi’s first appointment at these Finals is as referee of the Group B match between Spain and Norway, being played on Wednesday 15th July at the Ramla Municipal Stadium in Ramla. Her appointed international assistant referees are Stephanie Forde (Belgium) and Katalin Torok (Hungary), while FIFA Referee Eleni Lampadariou (Greece) has been appointed as 4th Official. UEFA Referees’ Committee member Dagmar Damkova (Czech Republic) will be assessing the referees’ performance, while Monica Jorge (Portugal) has been appointed as Match Delegate.
This UEFA appointment marks Esther Azzopardi’s fourth final tournament since becoming an international referee in January 2007 at the young age of 25. A significant appointment in her first final tournament in Switzerland in 2009 was the Women’s Under 17 Norway vs Spain (0-2) semi-final match. A year later she was appointed for the UEFA Women’s Under 19 tournament in FYM Macedonia, during which she was again entrusted with a semi-final match between Germany and France (1-1, 3-5 pens). Her appointment as 4th Official at the Women’s EURO 2013 in Sweden was her third final tournament.
This will be Israel’s first UEFA Women’s Final Tournament, but the country has staged two UEFA Men’s Competitions: the Under 16 Finals in 2000 and the Under 21 Finals in 2013. The hosts become the 26th team to grace these finals, who in Group A have to face Denmark and former champions France and Sweden. In Group B the tournament’s most successful side – four-time winners Germany – will meet England, Norway and last year’s beaten finalists Spain.
The four teams in each group face each other in a round-robin format, playing matches on the 15th, 18th and 21st in Ramla Municipal Stadium, Rishon Lezion Haberfeld Stadium, Lod Municipal Stadium and Netanya Stadium with the latter two venues hosting the top two teams from each group playing the semi-finals on the 24th, and the winners contesting the final scheduled on 27 July 2015 in Netanya Stadium.