England’s chances, why it’s so big for women’s football, and players to look out for, including Arsenal and Barcelona stars June 6, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer

A month remains before the long-awaited 2022 UEFA European Women’s Football Championship kicks off at Old Trafford on July 6.

England will be hosting the prestigious competition, with Sheffield, Southampton, Brighton and Manchester among the cities joining London in holding games at their stadiums.

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England will be hosting the tournament and will be hoping for home advantage

But with the start date fast approaching, some football fans may have some holes in their knowledge when it comes to the tournament.

Who are the best sides and top players? What chance do England have of winning it?

So, here’s all you need to know ahead of Euro 2022.

Why is it so big for women’s football?

Following a season of boosted coverage and rising support, women’s football is arguably shining the brightest its shone since before it’s abolishment in 1921.

Crowds have seen a sharp rise, with Barcelona breaking their own world record attendance for a women’s football match with more than 91,600 fans watching their win over Wolfsburg in the Champions League.

Newcastle Women had a remarkable crowd of 22,000 at St James’ Park earlier last month, showing how popular the women’s game is becoming

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Newcastle Women had a remarkable crowd of 22,000 at St James’ Park earlier last month, showing how popular the women’s game is becoming


And it seems as though the Women’s Euros will be the icing on the cake of a breakthrough season – particularly for England.

The Lionesses’ chances of winning are bound to be boosted by support from their home nation throughout the tournament.

Not only this, but the wide range of host cities will mean a bigger opportunity for fans to get to games, increasing the potential impact of one of the fastest growing sports in the UK.

For women’s football as a whole, the tournament will undoubtedly increase the sport’s audience, with TV figures already doubling since 2017 and more than 350,000 tickets sold for this summer’s games.

Euro 2022 will be broadcast on TV, while there will be full coverage coming from talkSPORT, so the tournament will be more accessible than ever before.

Tickets for the final of the Women’s Euro 2022 – which will be held at Wembley – have sold out

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Tickets for the final of the Women’s Euro 2022 – which will be held at Wembley – have sold out

Who is tipped to do well?

There will be 16 teams competing at England 2022, but there are six nations in particular that are expected to run the show.

Sweden, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and England sit highest in the FIFA rankings.

The bookies fancy Jorge Vilda’s Spain given many of their squad play for Barcelona, the 2022 Champions League finalists – but they only broke into the top ten of FIFA’s rankings in 2021.

Sweden won the invitational Algarve Cup, but haven’t taken home a World, Euros or Olympic title since ’84

AFP

Sweden won the invitational Algarve Cup, but haven’t taken home a World, Euros or Olympic title since ’84

Meanwhile, Sweden were most recently crowned silver medallists at the Olympics in Tokyo last summer, and have the highest FIFA ranking in the competition, placing second in the world behind the United States.

Germany and France are both also expected to do well, but the former are still getting used to new boss Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, meanwhile the latter always underachieve in major tournaments.

Netherlands have had the most impressive run in the sport’s major competitions recently, winning Euro 2017 and finishing as runners up in the 2019 World Cup. However, it will be interesting to see how they fare without now-England boss Sarina Wiegman.

And despite the Lionesses being the lowest ranked of the European big guns, playing with a home advantage will undoubtedly better their chances in the competition.

Is now the time for England Women?

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Is now the time for England Women?

What to expect from the England team

The last Women’s European Championships in 2017 saw the Lionesses fall to defeat in the semi-finals.

Mark Sampson’s side lost 3-0 to the host nation and eventual champions, Netherlands, after winning all their group games and beating France 1-0 in the quarter-finals.

So, could England Women go all the way this time round on home soil?

Although they’re ranked sixth in FIFA’s European rankings, England boast an impressive side that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Wiegman made the Netherlands a championship winning team and the hope is that she will do the same with England

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Wiegman made the Netherlands a championship winning team and the hope is that she will do the same with England

New Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman has already guided her new team to nine wins and two draws since she took over last August, including a record-breaking 20-0 victory over Latvia.

If this wasn’t positive enough, the Dutch manager has previously won the tournament with Netherlands after knocking England out – showing she knows exactly how to lead a side to European glory.

The Lionesses boast an impressive squad too, all of them coming from top clubs in the Women’s Super League bar Rachel Daly who plays for Houston Dash in the American Women’s Soccer League.

Big name player such as Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead and Steph Houghton will be driving their side to a successful Euro campaign.

England have had a promising run in the lead up to the tournament

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England have had a promising run in the lead up to the tournament

Stars to look out for?

Euro 2022 will obviously be full of standout players from across the top leagues of women’s football.

However there are three players of interest that fans, old and new, should be keeping an eye out for.

Leah Williamson (England and Arsenal)

Aside from being a standout player in the WSL for Arsenal, Williamson is one to watch this tournament.

She will be donning the captain’s armband for the first time in a major competition for her country this summer, taking over from long-standing skipper Houghton.

It will be interesting to see how well the Gunners defender can lead her side through the expectations of being the host nation.

In addition to this it will also be great to watch how she’s blossomed from her first major tournament, the 2019 World Cup when she was 22, to now.

Williamson has stepped up to the plate for Euro 2022

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Williamson has stepped up to the plate for Euro 2022

Marie-Antoinette Katoto (France and Paris Saint-Germain)

Aside from having an eye-catching name, PSG’s star striker Katoto is one to watch this tournament.

Scoring a goal a game on average for her club and country and being PSG Women’s team’s all-time goalscorer at just 23 years old with 138 strikes, the France international is an exciting prospect.

And after being controversially left out of the 2019 World Cup squad, Euro 2022 will be the first major tournament where she can show what she can do.

Katoto is already smashing records and could do the same at Euro 2022

instagram:@mariekatoto

Katoto is already smashing records and could do the same at Euro 2022

Alexia Putellas (Spain and Barcelona)

Barcelona’s captain Putellas was awarded the Champions League player of the season as well as the 2021 Ballon d’Or – showing she’s certainly one to watch out for this summer.

Of course, Putellas has been around for a long time, making her international debut in 2013, and she has earnt her status as one of the most impressive female footballers of all time.

But after such a successful season with Barcelona, the 28-year-old could be the jewel in Spain’s crown this summer, so fans should make an effort to see just how good she is in her country’s midfield.

Putellas will be looking for European glory

instagram:@alexiaputellas

Putellas will be looking for European glory

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