Later today at Manchester United’s famous Old Trafford, England’s Lionesses football team will open the 2022 Women’s European Championships as the host nation, facing Austria in their first game in Group A of the tournament.
Sarina Wiegman’s team are the current 9/2 joint-favourites with bet365 Sport to win the trophy alongside Spain and as host nation, they will have the advantage of vociferous home support in their group games and the knockout phase, should they get that far.
Standing in their way are not just their three group opponents, but also 12 other teams all with eyes on lifting the trophy that was last won the Netherlands on home soil back in 2017.
So, what are England’s chances of success and how will thet get on in the opening game of their campaign tonight? Let’s take a closer look to find out.
Euro 2020 Factfile
- Dates – 6th – 31st July
- Venue – England (10 venues in 8 host cities)
- Host Cities – Wigan & Leigh, Manchester (2 stadia), Sheffield, Southampton, Brighton & Hove, Milton Keynes, Rotherham, London (2 stadia).
- Holders – Netherlands
- Teams Competing – 16
- VAR – Yes
15 qualifiers along with England entered into the draw for the tournament over a year ago but after Russia’s expulsion from the tournament after the invasion of Ukraine, Portugal were called up to replace the now banned Russian team.
That left the draw for the Group Stage looking like this:
Euro 2022 Finals Group Stage
- Northern Ireland
Group A Matches
- Wed 6th July – 8pm – England v Austria (Old Trafford)
- Thu 7th July – 8pm – Norway v Northern Ireland (St Mary’s)
- Mon 11th July – 5pm – Austria v Northern Ireland (St Mary’s)
- Mon 11th July – 8pm – England v Norway (Brighton & Hove Community Stadium)
- Fri 15th July – 8pm – Northern Ireland v England (St Mary’s), Austria v Norway (Brighton & Hove Community Stadium)
Group B Matches
- Fri 8th July – 5pm – Spain v Finland (Stadium MK)
- Fri 8th July – 8pm – Germany v Denmark (London Community Stadium)
- Tue 12th July – 5pm – Denmark v Finland (Stadium MK)
- Tue 12th July – 8pm – Germany v Spain (London Community Stadium)
- Sat 16th July – 8pm – Finland v Germany (Stadium MK), Denmark v Spain (London Community Stadium)
Group C Matches
- Sat 9th July – 5pm – Portugal v Switzerland (Leigh Sports Village)
- Sat 9th July – 8pm – Netherlands v Sweden (Bramhall Lane)
- Wed 13th July – 5pm – Sweden v Switzerland (Bramhall Lane)
- Wed 13th July – 8pm – Netherlands v Portugal (Leigh Sports Village)
- Sun 17th July – 5pm – Switzerland v Netherlands (Bramhall Lane), Sweden v Portugal (Leigh Sports Village)
Group D Matches
- Sun 10th July – 5pm – Belgium v Iceland (Man City Academy Stadium)
- Sun 10th July – 8pm – France v Italy (New York Stadium)
- Thu 14th July – 5pm – Italy v Iceland (Manchester City Academy Stadium)
- Thu 14th July – 8pm – France v Belgium (New York Stadium)
- Mon 18th July – 8pm – Iceland v France (New York Stadium), Italy v Belgium (Man City Academy Stadium)
The top two teams in each group after all the matches listed above have been played then qualify for the Knockout Stage, which will proceed as follows:
Knockout Phase Of The Tournament
Quarter Finals (8pm Kick Offs)
- QF 1 Wed 20th July – Winner of Group A v Runner Up Group B – Brighton & Hove Community Stadium
- QF 2 Thu 21st July – Winner of Group B v Runner Up Group A (London Community Stadium)
- QF 3 Fri 22nd July – Winner Group C v Runner Up Group D (Leigh Sports Village)
- QF 4 Fri 22nd July – Winner Group D v Runner Up Group C (New York Stadium)
Semi Finals (8pm Kick Off)
- SF 1 – Tue 26th July – Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 3 (Bramhall Lane)
- SF 2 – Wed 27th July – Winner QF 2 v Winner QF 4 (Stadium MK)
Final (8pm Kick Off)
- Sun 31st July – Winner SF1 v Winner SF 2 (Wembley)
So what are England’s chances of success in the tournament? Well, let’s take a look at the 23-woman squad that Sarina Wiegman has called up for this tournament.
England Women’s Squad
Manager – Sarina Wiegmann
Goalkeepers – 1. Mary Earps (Man Utd), 13. Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), 21. Ellie Roebuck (Man City)
Defenders – 2. Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), 3. Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 5. Alex Greenwood (Man City), 6. Millie Bright (Chelsea), 12. Jess Carter (Chelsea), 15. Demi Stokes (Man City), 22. Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)
Midfielders – 4. Keira Walsh (Man City), 8. Leah Williamson (Arsenal, Captain), 10. Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), 14. Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 16. Jill Scott (Unattached)
Attackers – 7. Beth Mead (Arsenal), 9. Ellen White (Man City), 11. Lauren Hemp (Man City), 17. Nikita Parris (Arsenal), 18. Chloe Kelly (Man City), 19. Bethany England (Chelsea), 20. Ella Toone (Man Utd), 23. Alessia Russo (Man Utd)
This is a very attack-minded squad with plenty of quality in attack, something that England have been criticised for lacking in previous tournaments. Steph Houghton’s absence in defence will be missed but Leah Williamson will be an able captain and England still can call upon plenty of experience with the likes of Lucy Bronze, Fran Kirby, Jill Scott and Ellen White.
White is England’s leading goalscorer with 50 goals, but she may start from the bench initially With Beth Mead, Lauren Hemp and Bethany England appearing to be England’s first choice front three at the moment.
England Predicted Strongest XI – (4-3-3) – Earps, Bronze, Stokes, Bright, Daly, Williamson, Walsh, Stanway, Kirby, Mead, Hemp
England V Austria
Strange as it may seem for England, the Lionesses actually have faced two of their three group opponents recently, with Austria and Northern Ireland being drawn in England’s qualification group.
England beat Austria 1-0 in their game at the Stadium of Light in November last year and they have beaten Northern Ireland 4-0 at home and 5-0 away from home.
They play Austria in Game 9 of the qualifiers in September, before finishing off their qualifying campaign at home to Luxembourg.
For now though, a win to kick off Euro 2022 is a vital one for England and whjile Austria proved difficult to beat last time out, with greater support roaring them on, I’d expect England to land the win here.
England are 1/6 for the win with bet365 Sport, so I’d find better odds elsewhere, A 2-0 win for England is an 11/2 shot in the Correct Score market and I also like Beth Mead to be a goalscorer at any time at 11/10.
With games to follow against Norway and Northern Ireland, England should be confident of progressing into the knockout phase at least.