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The finals take place in Sweden in July of next year, and the 2009 runners-up will be in Group C alongside a French side they've never beaten, the Spaniards and Russia

England's women have been in Group C for next summer's European Championship finals in Sweden alongside France, Spain and Russia..

Hope Powell's ladies topped their qualifying group unbeaten, and have been rewarded with a place in the 12-team tournament.

England will kick-off against a Spanish team who have only ever qualified for the finals once - reaching the semi-finals the last time it was in Sweden, in 1997. The game is in Linkoping on July 13, before a tie with Russia three days later. The meeting with France - a team England are yet to defeat in 12 attempts - will conclude the group on July 18.

Powell is well aware of the threat France pose, having seen her side knocked out of last year's World Cup by Les Blues on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

"Whatever group we got, the games would have been tough but now we can start preparing," Powell told BBC Sport. It will be a challenge.

"We have played all the teams in our group recently. We know their qualities. We know what we are up against but we will have them looked at. We want to do well."

England's chances of progressing are good, considering the two best third placed sides will join the top two teams in the quarter-finals. The final will be played in the Friends Arena in Solna, on July 28.

Group A: Sweden, Italy, Finland, Denmark

Group B: Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Iceland

Group C: France, England, Spain, Russia

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