Sweden ready to open Women's European Championship
Women's Euro 2013
- Host nation:
- 10 July - 28 July
- England matches and other selected games live on BBC TV, BBC Sport Interactive, and either BBC Radio 5 live or 5 live Sports Extra; Live text commentary of all England games on BBC Sport Interactive.
Sweden will officially kick-off Euro 2013 on Wednesday when the hosts take on rivals Denmark in their opening Group A game, aiming for their second European Championship title.
Led by former United States coach Pia Sundhage, who scored the decisive penalty when the country last won the tournament in 1984, Sweden go into the tournament as third favourites behind holders Germany and France.
Earlier on Wednesday, Italy begin the 11th championship, against Finland at 17:00 BST.
England start their quest versus Spain on Friday and will aim to improve on their runners-up spot four years ago.
Coach Hope Powell, who has been in the job for 15 years, says she wants her side to reach the final as they did in Euro 2009 before being beaten by Germany, thereby also matching the 1984 team, who were on the losing side to Sweden.
"I'm not saying we are going to get to the final but that's the ambition," she told BBC Sport.
England will also face Russia and France in Group C, and lost 4-1 to Sweden in their final warm-up game last week in Uddevalla.
The hosts looked formidable in that match and will be hoping that Sundhage, who helped the US to gold at the London Olympics, can help her native country augment its performance at the 2011 World Cup, where they finished third.
Sundhage said: "We're playing at home in Sweden and there are a lot of enthusiastic people hoping that we play a lot of games and play well. I've learnt from the five years in the States that it's a privilege to play under pressure and we have to embrace the pressure."
All of Sweden's group games have been sold out, with ticket sales on course to break new records. Organisers Uefa said that 112,500 tickets have been sold with 22,500 of the 30,000 available for the final on 28 July at the Friends Arena in Stockholm now taken.
Germany begin their bid to win a sixth successive championship in Group B against the Netherlands on Thursday in Vaxjo, where a full house is expected. But coach Silvia Neid's side have been rocked by six injuries in the build-up to the tournament.
The tournament is being held across six cities - Gothenburg, Halmstad, Vaxjo, Kalmar, Norrkoping, Linkoping and Solna (a suburb of Stockholm) and each venue will feature fan zones for the first time at a European Championship.
As well as unprecedented ticket sales, media interest has also reached record levels with 705 representatives set to cover the tournament.